Here's how the Fortitude Budget will fortify your family's finances
With the Covid-19 pandemic and a grim economic outlook, some fortitude is just what we need to overcome the tough times that lie ahead.
Announced by Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat on May 26, the Fortitude Budget, Singapore's fourth budget this year, will channel an additional $33 billion towards supporting workers, businesses and families.
With the Unity, Resilience and Solidarity Budgets, close to $100 billion will be spent to help Singaporeans through this crisis.
But let's focus on what's important here: the four ways it's going to help you and your family.
1) Helping with immediate needs
The impact of Covid-19 continues to weigh heavily on workers, with many having their livelihoods affected.
As part of the Fortitude Budget, an additional $800 million will be set aside for the Covid-19 Support Grant which covers eligible Singaporeans and Permanent Residents who have lost their jobs, been placed on no-pay leave for three consecutive months, or had their salaries cut by at least 30 per cent.
Successful applicants can receive up to $800 per month for three months to tide through these tough times, including job and training support.
2) Helping with household expenses
To help Singaporeans offset the expenses of staying at home during this difficult time, a one-off $100 Solidarity Utilities Credit will be credited in households' July or August 2020 utilities bill with SP Group.
To be eligible for the credit, the household has to have at least one Singapore Citizen. All property types are covered.
This is on top of the Care and Support Package, which includes higher GST Voucher - U-Save rebates for eligible HDB households.
The Package, announced during the earlier Budgets, also includes a second cash payout of $300 or $600 for eligible Singaporean adults in June, $300 for each parent with a child aged 20 and below, and $100 for those aged 50 and above.
3) Fostering digital inclusion
From home-based learning to food delivery, the internet has been instrumental in ensuring that life goes on - all from the comfort of our homes. Many measures have been introduced to ensure everyone, regardless of age, has access to digital resources.
There will be an accelerated timeline for all secondary school students to own a digital learning device. Education Minister Ong Ye Kung had previously announced in March that every secondary school student would own a digital learning device by 2028.
Our seniors may be isolated as they stay home to protect themselves. To help seniors stay digitally connected, the Infocomm Media Development Authority will launch a Seniors Go Digital movement. At least 1,000 Digital Ambassadors will be recruited to reach out to seniors and equip them with basic digital skills. There are also existing programmes to help seniors pick up digital skills, such as free online classes and Virtual Digital Clinics for one-on-one consultations.
To ensure that no one is left behind, lower-income seniors can expect to receive financial support to own digital devices. Details will be announced soon.
4) Looking after one another
In these trying times, charities and social service agencies, as well as the good work they do in the community, remain all too important.
Fortunately, they are set to receive a boost. The government will provide an $18 million top-up to the Invictus Fund to support social service agencies in maintaining their services, retaining staff and adopting technology to transform their work. This will enable them to better support the vulnerable.
Additionally, the government will partner the Tote Board to provide dollar-for-dollar matching on donations for eligible organisations, up to a cap of $250,000 per organisation. The government has made a $100 million top-up to the initial programme budget of $70 million.