$2k more in cash for Baby Bonus

$2k more in cash for Baby Bonus
Babies in a nursery at Mount Alvernia hospital on 19 January 2010.
PHOTO: The Straits Times

THE Baby Bonus cash gift for children of married couples will be increased by $2,000, bringing the amount they will receive to at least $8,000.

It will be given to parents in two stages: the first when the child is 15 months old and the rest, at 18 months.

The Medisave grant for a newborn will be raised as well - by $1,000 - to a total of $4,000, which will help pay for the child's MediShield Life premiums and other medical expenses. The full grant will be given to all Singaporean babies, regardless of whether their parents are married.

These extras for Singaporean babies born on or after Jan 1 this year will be given out from next January.

These details were released by Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Grace Fu yesterday, after Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced the measures on Sunday during his National Day Rally. Ms Fu oversees population issues.

Previously, the first two children of a married couple would get $6,000 in cash each under the Baby Bonus scheme, while the third and fourth child would receive $8,000 each. There was nothing in cash for the fifth and subsequent children. So, depending on the birth order, married couples will get $8,000 or $10,000 per child in cash from the Baby Bonus Scheme.

While the extra sum will be handed out in the 15th and 18th month after the child's birth, the original cash bonus will still be given in the first, sixth and 12th month after the child is born.

"Many couples have said that expenses for their children are higher between the ages of zero and 18 months," said Ms Fu, explaining why the Government is spreading out the cash disbursement.

On extending the cash bonus to unwed parents, she said it was "something we're always discussing with parents, the public and the Ministry of Social and Family Development, and we will always review this". "But we also have to take cognisance that the values of family, of intact family, are very strong in the community," she added.

The extra $1,000 will be paid out from March next year.


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