Government to provide additional support for newborns, help parents cope during Covid-19 pandemic

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The Government will be providing one-off additional support for newborns to help aspiring parents cope with the Covid-19 pandemic. 

This comes after the worry of financial uncertainty and job layoffs due to the Covid-19 pandemic, propelling some to postpone their parenthood plans.

According to Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat in a ministerial statement on Monday (Oct 5), the one-off support measure will be on top of the Baby Bonus Cash Gift, which provides eligible parents up to $10,000 in benefits.

More details about the amounts and how they will be paid will be announced at a later date, Minister Heng who is also the Coordinating Minister for Economic Policies and Minister for Finance said. 

He adds that Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Indranee Rajah will share further details soon. 

In his statement, Minister Heng also pledged to continue supporting households, alongside support for businesses and workers hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic.

He pointed out that this month, eligible households will receive more rebates on their utility bills through the goods and services tax voucher (GSTV) U-Save scheme.

These households will also receive the first tranche of grocery vouchers and rebates on service and conservancy charges. 

It is said that eligible lower-income workers will also receive the second Workfare Special Payment payout this month. According to Minister Heng, it will be a $3,000 cash payout that will be given over two parts — earlier in July and now in October. 

The cash grant is issued to those who are eligible for the Workfare Income Supplement that is targeted at the bottom 20 per cent of the workforce (before March 31, 2021) for their work produced in 2019. 

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For those who have lost their jobs or suffered significant income loss, the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) has also extended the Covid-19 Support Grant (CSG)—which provides eligible recipients up to $800 a month for three months—to end-December.

However, with the extension comes a revised eligibility criteria whereby those applying for the CSG from Oct 1 must demonstrate job search or training efforts to qualify for the help, according to MSF in a statement.

In addition, applicants should also not own more than one property.

Minister Heng states that an update will be provided before the end of the year on whether support schemes continue and in what form they will take. 

Beyond financial burdens brought upon by the Covid-19 pandemic, Singapore has been seeing mostly a downward trend in fertility since the 1980s.

And this is despite incentives given by the Government such as the offering of cash grants for new parents and public housing for young couples.

In 2019, the Total Fertility Rate (TFR) in Singapore according to government data, stands at 1.14 children per woman. 

For the latest updates on the coronavirus, visit here.

This article was first published in theAsianparent.