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Single Parent in Singapore – Guide to Grants, Subsidies And Financial Assistance

Single Parent in Singapore -- Guide to Grants, Subsidies and Financial Assistance

Joanne Poh

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Singapore’s laws remain depressingly old-fashioned when it comes to certain things. And nowhere is this clearer than in the way single parents are penalised. It’s almost as if it’s your fault for being a single parent.

While a lot has been done to make parenthood less financially taxing such as the Baby Bonus and HDB subsidies, single parents are often left out in the cold and denied the same degree of support.

This despite the fact that it is often precisely single parents who need help most in the absence of a spouse to share the physical, emotional and financial burden of raising a child.

If you or someone you know is on the brink of single parenthood, this guide will help you to see at a glance which grants, subsidies and financial assistance you qualify for.

Contents

  1. Paid maternity and paternity leave schemes
  2. Baby Bonus
  3. Housing grants for HDB flats
  4. Childcare leave
  5. Levy concession for foreign domestic worker
  6. Infantcare and childcare subsidies
  7. Medisave Grant for Newborns
  8. MediShield coverage for congenital and neonatal conditions
  9. Kindergarten Financial Assistance Scheme (KiFAS)
  10. MOE Financial Assistance Scheme
  11. Parenthood Tax Rebate (not eligible for single parent)

 

Paid maternity and paternity leave schemes

Since January 2017, single mothers have been granted 16 weeks of paid maternity leave, which is the same as what married women who are Singapore citizens receive.

Single fathers get just two weeks of paid paternity leave. This is the same as what married fathers currently receive.

For your first and second child, your employer is obliged to pay for the first 8 weeks of your maternity leave, with the 9th to 16th weeks being paid for by the government. For a third and subsequent child, the government will reimburse all 16 weeks.

Paternity leave, on the other hand, is completely funded by the government.

Eligibility criteria

The criteria to qualify for this paid maternity and paternity leave is the same as it is for married folks. If your child is a Singapore citizen, you will be entitled to it.

If you’re an employee: You need to have worked at your current workplace for a continuous period of at least 3 months before your child is born.

If you’re self-employed: You need to have been engaged in your work for a continuous period of at least 3 months before your child is born, and have lost income while on maternity/paternity leave.

For mothers only: You must have given your employer notice of at least 1 week before going on maternity leave, and informed them as soon as possible of your delivery. Note that if you have not satisfied these requirements, your maternity leave entitlement might be cut in half!

 

Planning your maternity leave

The default arrangement, meaning you don’t need to discuss anything with your boss, is that you take your 16 weeks of maternity leave in a block, starting 4 weeks before your date of delivery.

But you and your employer can mutually agree to change this timetable. You can choose to take all the leave in one block, or to break it up, so long as you:

  • Start no earlier than 4 weeks before delivery.
  • Take the first 8 weeks in a continuous stretch.
  • The last 8 weeks can be taken flexibly over 12 months from the child’s birth.

Tip: Many mothers prefer to start their leave closer to their delivery date as this will enable them to spend more time looking after their newborn when he’s actually been born.

Planning your paternity leave

If you don’t bother to discuss with your boss, the default arrangement is that you will take 2 continuous weeks of paternity leave within the first 16 weeks of your newborn’s life.

However, you can by mutual agreement with your boss choose to take these 2 continuous weeks off any time within 12 months after the birth of the child.

You can also take the 2 weeks in drips and drabs within 12 months after your child is born.

Tip: If your child is going to live with his or her mother in the first few weeks after birth, it makes sense for you to postpone your paternity leave to later on in the year.

Single parent maternity leave and paternity leave
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Baby Bonus

There are three components to the Baby Bonus:

Components

What is it?

Is it applicable to single mothers?

Cash gift

A one-off payment of $8,000 (first and second child).

No

First Step Grant

$3,000 to be deposited into the Child Development Account

Yes

Dollar-for-dollar matching

Up to $3,000 worth of dollar-for-dollar matching of savings deposited in the Child Development Account before child is 12 years of age  (first and second child)

Yes

It should also be noted that only single mothers are eligible to receive the First Step Grant and dollar-for-dollar matching in Child Development Accounts, not single fathers.

What is a Child Development Account?

Mothers can open a Child Development Account (CDA) as early as 8 weeks before their child is born. You can choose from the following banks:

  • DBS
  • OCBC
  • UOB

The money in your CDA can only be used on kid-related spending, such as the following:

  • Child care centres, kindergartens and special education schools
  • Providers of early intervention programmes
  • Providers of assistive technology devices
  • Hospitals and clinics
  • Pharmacies
  • Optical shops
  • Medical insurance in the form of Medisave-approved plans

Note: All of the above must be Baby Bonus Approved Institutions before you can pay for their goods and services using the CDA account. You can find the full list of Approved Institutions here.

Note that if you have more than one child, you can use the money in one child’s CDA for the needs of another.

After opening your CDA, you can then join the Baby Bonus Scheme online by logging in here with your SingPass.

Baby Bonus for a Single Parent

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Housing grants for HDB flats

This is one area where single parents really get the short end of the stick. Despite a bit of public resistance and some MPs having spoken up, single parents are still ignored by the HDB.

As most of you should know, in order to buy an HDB flat before turning 35, you need to be married or prepared to get married by the time you pick up your keys.

Single parents, on the other hand, will need to wait until they are 35 before they are able to buy a flat through the Single Singapore Citizen Scheme.

This has its limitations, as not only is the grant amount lower, but flats allocated to singles are more oversubscribed, so good luck trying to ballot for a BTO if you don’t have the cash to purchase one on the resale market.

So what is the difference in housing grants?

Grant name

Amount

Single parents eligible?

Additional CPF Housing Grant (BTO and resale)

$5,000 to $40,000, depending on income. ($2,500 to $20,000 for singles)

Yes

Special CPF Housing Grant (only BTO 2- 3- and 4-room flats in non-mature estates)

$5,000 to $40,000, depending on income ($2,500 to $20,000 for singles)

Yes

Enhanced CPF Housing Grant (“Family Grant”) (only first-timer families buying 2-room or larger resale flats)

$30,000 to $50,000 depending on citizenship status and size of HDB flat

No

Proximity Housing Grant (only 2-room or bigger resale flat)

$30,000 ($15,000 for singles)

Yes

HDB grants for Single Parents

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Childcare leave

Just like married parents, single parents working full time get 6 days of paid childcare leave per year.

Parents whose youngest child is a Singapore citizen and between 7 to 12 years old are entitled to an additional 2 days of extended childcare leave every year.

However, the total number of childcare/extended childcare leave days you can claim per year is capped at 6.

Eligibility

Thankfully, being married isn’t one of the criteria for claiming childcare leave, but these are.

  • If you’re an employee: You need to have worked at your current workplace for a continuous period of at least 3 months.
  • If you’re self-employed: You must have been engaged in your work for a continuous period of at least 3 months.

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Levy concession for foreign domestic worker

Like married parents, single parents are also entitled to a levy concession if they wish to hire a maid to help out around the house.

Under the Young Child Scheme, you will save $60 a month so long as your child is a Singapore citizen below 16 years old and living at the same address.

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Infantcare and childcare subsidies

Infantcare and childcare subsidies are the same whether the parents are married or not.

The subsidies are composed of two parts: the Childcare Basic Subsidy, which is paid out to all whose children are Singapore citizens, regardless of income, so long as the parent in question is a working mother.

The second subsidy, the Additional Childcare Subsidy, will depend on the family’s household income.

Here’s a table to help you work out how much you’ll get.

For full day childcare programmes:

Monthly Household Income

Per Capita Income

Basic Subsidy

Additional Subsidy

Maximum Total Subsidy

$2,500 and below

$625 and below

$300

$440

$740

$2,501 to $3,000

$626 to $750

$400

$700

$3,001 to $3,500

$751 to $875

$370

$670

$3,501 to $4,000

$876 to $1,000

$310

$610

$4,001 to $4,500

$1,001 to $1,125

$220

$520

$4,501 to $7,500

$1,126 to $1,875

$100

$400

Above $7,500

Above $1,875

$0

$300

For full day infantcare programmes:

Monthly Household Income

Per Capita Income

Basic Subsidy

Additional Subsidy

Maximum Total Subsidy

$2,500 and below

$625 and below

$600

$540

$1,140

$2,501 to $3,000

$626 to $750

$500

$1,100

$3,001 to $3,500

$751 to $875

$470

$1,070

$3,501 to $4,000

$876 to $1,000

$410

$1,010

$4,001 to $4,500

$1,001 to $1,125

$320

$920

$4,501 to $7,500

$1,126 to $1,875

$200

$800

Above $7,500

Above $1,875

$0

$600

Eligibility

  • Your child must be enrolled in an ECDA-licenced childcare or infantcare centre in Singapore.
  • (To receive Additional Subsidy) You must be a mother working at least 56 hours a month.

Single Parent Infantcare and Childcare Subsidies

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Medisave Grant for Newborns

This is another grant that is open to single and married parents alike.

The Medisave Grant for Newborns is worth $4,000 and will be deposited into your newborn’s CPF Medisave Account.

Just like your own, the money in your child’s Medisave account can be used to pay for hospitalisation and certain outpatient expenses, MediShield Life premiums and recommended childhood vaccination.

By the way, here’s a detailed guide that teaches you all you need to know about Medisave Accounts.

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MediShield coverage for congenital and neonatal conditions

Your child will be covered by MediShield Life from the moment of his birth. Even if your child was or is suffering from congenital and neonatal conditions, he will still be covered by MediShield Life.

Thankfully, this applies to all children, whether or not their parents are married!

You may pay for your child’s MediShield Life premiums using your own Medisave account, or by using the Medisave Grant for Newborns.

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Kindergarten Financial Assistance Scheme (KiFAS)

Single and dual parent households with a gross monthly household income of $6,000 and below, or per capita income of $1,500 and below are both eligible for KiFAS, which pays a portion of your child’s kindergarten fees.

Gross monthly household income

Gross monthly

per capita income

Maximum % of

fee assistance up to

Maximum fee assistance up to

(inclusive of GST)

$2,500 and below

$625 and below

99%

$170

$2,501 – $3,000

$626 – $750

98%

$165

$3,001 – $3,500

$751 – $875

90%

$150

$3,501 – $4,000

$876 – $1,000

75%

$130

$4,001 – $4,500

$1,001 – $1,125

50%

$85

$4,501 – $5,000

$1,126 – $1,250

35%

$60

$5,001 – $6,000

$1,251 – $1,500

20%

$35

The subsidised amount will be paid directly to your child’s kindergarten.

Eligibility

  • Your gross monthly household income must be $6,000 and below. Alternatively, you must have a per capita income of $1,500 and below.
  • Your child must be enrolled in a kindergarten operated by an Anchor Operator or the MOE Kindergarten.

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MOE Financial Assistance Scheme

If your gross household income is not more than $2,750 a month or you have a per capita income of not more than $690, you can receive financial assistance for your child’s school fees, as well as receive other benefits like free textbooks.

Here’s a table of the benefits.

Item

Academic Level

Primary

Secondary

Junior College / Pre-U

School fees

NA

Full waiver of $5 per month

Full waiver of $6 a month

Standard miscellaneous fees

Full waiver of $6.50 per month

Full waiver of $10 per month

Full waiver of $13.50 per month

Textbooks

Free textbooks

Free textbooks

NA

School attire

Free school attire

Free school attire

NA

Bursary (From 1 April 2018)

NA

NA

$900

Transport

Students taking school bus: 50% of school bus fares

Students taking public transport:

$120 transport credit per annum

Students taking public transport: $120 transport credit per annum

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Parenthood Tax Rebate (not eligible for single parent)

Married couples with kids save on their taxes when they file their income tax every year thanks to the Parenthood Tax Rebate.

Here’s what they get.

Child order

Parenthood Tax Rebate (for child born from 2008 onwards)

1st

$5,000

2nd

$10,000

3rd

$20,000

4th

$20,000

5th

$20,000 per child

Unfortunately, despite the fact that single mothers and fathers are still parents, they do not qualify for the Parenthood Tax Rebate.

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Single Parents in Singapore -- Guide to Grants, Subsidies and Financial Assistance Summary

Related Articles

Child Care Subsidies in Singapore 2018 – What Do You Qualify For?

My First Skool Raises Fees – Are Parents Paying Too Much?

What Exactly Can You Do With Your Child’s Baby Bonus Child Development Account (CDA)?

Expecting a Baby? Here’s 5 Ways You Should be Planning Your Finances

Do you think single parents should enjoy the same benefits as married ones? Share your views in the comments.

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Joanne Poh

In my previous life, I was a property lawyer who spent most of my time struggling to get out of bed or stuck in peak hour traffic. These days, as a freelance commercial writer, I work in bed, on the beach, in parks and at cafes, all while being really frugal. I like helping other people save money so they can stop living lives they don't like.