SINGAPORE — Singaporean parents who welcomed their babies between October 2022 and February 2023 have reason to celebrate as the government announced the extension of the Baby Support Grant (BSG).
The news was delivered by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, Indranee Rajah, through a Facebook post on Wednesday (21 June).
Ms. Indranee announced that the extended Baby Support Grant will benefit approximately 13,000 parents, who can expect to receive the funds by July 2023.
Eligible parents will receive notifications regarding their eligibility and the upcoming disbursements soon. Further updates on other payouts and grants will be provided as soon as they become available.
“We are configuring the IT systems to arrange for earlier payouts to parents,” added Ms. Indranee, who is also Second Minister for Finance and National Development.
The Baby Support Grant was initially introduced as an additional temporary measure to provide support to parents during the challenging times brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The grant amounted to SGD 3,000 and was provided on top of the regular Baby Bonus Cash Gift. It was available from October 1, 2020, until September 30, 2022.
Earlier this year, at Budget 2023, the Singapore government announced they would enhance the Baby Bonus Cash Gift by $3000 for each Singaporean born from 14 Feb (Valentine’s Day) onwards, to be disbursed in early 2024.
However, to ensure that babies born between October 1, 2022, and February 13, 2023, would not miss out on financial support, the government decided to extend the Baby Support Grant to cover this period as well.
Family with first- and second-born children can expect a significant increase in Baby Bonus Cash Gift from $8,000 to $11,000
Singaporean families with eligible first- and second-born children can expect a significant increase in financial assistance as the government raises the Baby Bonus Cash Gift from $8,000 to $11,000.
Similarly, for families with third-born children and onwards, the grant will be raised from $10,000 to $13,000.
This announcement was made alongside the extension of the payout duration, which will now continue until the child reaches 6½ years old.
Currently, the Baby Bonus Cash Gift was disbursed in five installments over the child’s first 18 months, intended to alleviate the financial burden of child-raising costs during infancy.
Singapore’s resident total fertility rate in 2022 hit a new low of 1.05
Singapore’s resident total fertility rate in 2022 hit a new low of 1.05, which was lower than the previous records of 1.1 in 2020 and 1.12 in 2021.
Since 2017, Singapore’s figure has remained below 1.2.
In a Parliament sitting on March 2023, Ms Indranee highlighted that the total fertility rate has been declining for several years in Singapore, like other advanced societies, and it refers to the average number of live-births each woman would have during her reproductive years.
She acknowledged that more people in Singapore are postponing marriage, delaying having children, or having fewer children, in line with longer-term global trends.
Additionally, around one in four Singapore citizens will be aged 65 and above by 2030, making it increasingly challenging to sustain economic growth as the resident workforce increases at a slower rate.
“More Singaporeans will face the dual pressures of raising young children while caring for their elderly parents – and in fact, this is already happening.”
Government to review access to reliable infant care
To better support new parents in caring for their infants, Ms Indranee said the government will review access to reliable infant care.
“We will be reviewing how we can better support new parents in caring for their infants,” she said during the Budget 2023 debate.
Additionally, Budget 2023 includes measures to boost support for parents and families, such as doubling government-paid paternity leave to four weeks for eligible working fathers, encouraging companies to offer flexible work arrangements, and providing greater priority to first-timer families with children and younger married couples when applying for Build-to-Order flats.