Babies are bundles of joy, but experts estimate that it costs approximately S$360,000 on average to raise a child from birth until they reach adulthood.
Before you start panicking, fret not. There is financial support available in the form of government grants and subsidies to lighten the burden on your wallet.
Tax Reliefs and Rebates for Parents
For children born from 2008 onwards, tax rebates start from $5,000 for the first child to $20,000 per child for upwards of five children. There is also the Working Mother’s Child Relief for working mothers.
Baby Bonus Scheme
The Baby Bonus Scheme has three components – the Cash Gift, First Step Grant and Dollar-for-Dollar Matching.
Regardless of income level, all parents who qualify for the Baby Bonus Scheme will receive a cash gift of $8,000 each for their first and second child and $10,000 each for their third child onwards.
First Step Grant
The Government will start the child’s Child Development Account with $3,000. Money in the CDA can be used for payment of fees at approved institutions such as childcare, medical or optical centres.
For the first and second child, the Government will match deposits into the CDA dollar-for-dollar, up to $3,000 each for the first and second child, up to $9,000 for the third and fourth child and up to $15,000 for the fifth and subsequent child.
Babies born after 2015 will be given a $4,000 Medisave grant for parents to pay for their child’s healthcare expenses, such as MediShield Life premiums, recommended childhood vaccinations, hospitalisation, and approved outpatient treatments.
Infant Care/Kindergarten/Childcare Subsidy
The cost of childcare in Singapore can be staggering but thankfully, there are subsidies and grants that you can tap on to help you cope with the fees. Subsidies are tiered and there are criteria to be met in order to be eligible.
Parents of Singapore Citizen Children and working mothers can claim a basic subsidy of up to $300 for childcare and up to $600 for infant care. Families with non-working mothers can claim up to $150.
Additional subsidies apply for families with working mothers and with a gross household income of less than $7,500. The exact amount of subsidy is dependent on the household income.
For example, a household earning less than $2,500 and with a working mother, up to $440 for childcare and $540 for infant care can be subsidised.
Kindergarten Fee Assistance Scheme (KiFAS)
KiFAS is a scheme where low-income families earning less than $6,000 monthly can receive subsidies of up to 99% off kindergarten fees, or up to $170 off.
Primary/Secondary School Subsidy
With Edusave, all Singapore Citizen children aged 7 to 16 years old will receive an annual contribution of $230 for Primary and $290 for Secondary school children respectively. The Edusave scheme also rewards students who perform well in school through awards, while school are given Edusave grants to level up co-curricular activities for children from low-income households.
Edusave can be used to pay for enrichment programmes organised by schools. Any remaining balance in the Edusave account will be transferred to a Post Secondary Education Account (PSEA) when the child turns 17 years old or is no longer studying in an MOE-funded school, whichever happens later.
MOE IB Bursary
The MOE IB Bursary subsidises up to 100% off school fees, exam fees and miscellaneous fees as well as provides transport credit for children who attend International Schools and are from households with a total income of less than $2,750 a month.
Post Secondary Education Account (PSEA)
The Post Secondary Education Account aims to encourage students to complete their post secondary education by helping parents save for their children’s post secondary education expenses. This account is automatically opened for all eligible Singaporeans by the Government and the monies can be used to pay for the child’s or his/her siblings’ fees and charges from approved institutions.
Decoding the terms: Know the difference between Preschool, Childcare and Kindergarten
Baffled by the seemingly similar terms used to describe pre-primary education and care? In general, preschool refers to any institution providing early childhood education and care.
Preschool programmes are then categorised into Childcare and Kindergarten.
Childcare centres in Singapore offer full day care programmes on weekdays from 7am to 7pm with a half day option from 7am to 1pm. Children between 18 months to 6 years of age are eligible for childcare enrolment. Full meals with snacks will be served, and there will be nap time for children in full-day programmes.
Certain centres open on Saturdays from 7am to 1pm to assist parents who are required to work on Saturdays. The exact operating hours vary with each centre.
Babies as young as two months old can be enrolled in childcare centres offering infant care services.
Kindergartens are three- or four-hour weekday programmes which do not serve full meals. Children who attend kindergarten typically have main caregivers to look after them after school hours. Kindergartens are academically focused and follow the same school terms and holidays as MOE primary schools.
We hope that the information above will go a long way to help you navigate through your parenting journey and that the list of subsidies can help to free up some disposable income for your family!
Written by Jamie Koh