There were probably two news headlines that made the rounds during the announcement of the Singapore Budget this year – the water price hike and the increased grants for resale HDB flat buyers. But beyond these two, there were many aspects of the budget that were not highlighted, especially the extra/continued support and help given to the mid and low income families in Singapore. Here, we highlight 3 of them and show you how you can sign up for support:
Sure, we all know that the 30% increase in water prices were quite a shock to Singaporeans, but with something as essential as water, you can expect the government to help out. There will be a permanent increase in the GST Voucher – Utilities-Save (U-Save) rebate for eligible HDB households. The increases will range from $40 to $120 depending on the HDB flat type. Revised rebates are as follows:
HDB Flat Type Current Annual Rebate Revised Annual Rebate
1 and 2-room $260 $380
3-room $240 $340
4-room $220 $300
5-room $200 $260
Executive/Multi-Gen $180 $220
The GST Voucher – U-Save is paid over four quarters, in January, April, July, October. This increase will take effect from July 2017.
On top of this increase, GST Voucher Cash recipients will receive a one-off GST Voucher – Cash Special Payment of up to $200 on top of the regular GST Voucher to help lower-income households with expenses. The regular payment will be paid in August 2017 and the one-off Special Payment will be paid in November 2017.
How to Apply: If low income families have previously signed up for the GST Voucher, you will automatically be enrolled. If not, you can sign up here from 1st July 2017.
While Primary and Secondary education are highly-subsidised in Singapore, students from low-income family my struggle to pay the fees of tertiary education. In this year’s budget announcement, the government has said they will spend S$150 million a year – 50 per cent more than before – to enhance financial support for needy students in post-secondary education institutions (PSEIs).
The 2 existing bursaries for low income families, those awarded by the Community Development Councils/Citizens’ Consultative Committees and the Ministry of Education (MOE), will be enhanced from this year. Another good news is that their income-eligibility caps will be raised so more students will qualify for them.
With these changes in place, families with a gross monthly household per capita income of S$2,250 and below (up from the current PCI of S$1,900 and below) will be eligible for government bursaries.
The bursary payouts will go up by between S$50 and S$400 a year across the different levels, with larger increases going to lower-income students. This will take the maximum annual bursary amount to S$4,000 a year for undergraduates, S$2,350 for diploma students and S$1,400 for ITE students.
How to Apply: Find a list of schemes for the different schools here.
The S&CC rebate was announced during Budget 2017 to provide additional support to households. Around 880,000 Singaporean HDB households can expect to receive $120 million worth of Service & Conservancy Charges (S&CC) rebates in FY2017.
The amount of rebates received depends on the HDB Flat type, with 1 to 2-room HDB receiving 3.5 months of rebates and those living in Executive HDBs receiving 1.5 months of rebates in total for year 2017.
The S&CC rebate will be used to offset a household’s S&CC payment directly.
How to Apply: The rebates will be automatic but residents can also contact the Enquiries Line 1800-866-3078 (Mondays to Fridays, 8.30am to 5pm), or email: firstname.lastname@example.org