From KidSTART to the Silver Support Scheme, a variety of new initiatives were introduced in #SGBudget2016 to provide targeted support to those in need and to invest in developing our people.
Several new social initiatives were introduced by Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat in his budget speech this afternoon. The new initiatives introduced include a new Child Development Account (CDA) grant, a pilot Business and IPC Partnership Scheme, as well as enhancements to existing schemes such as Workfare and Public Assistance.
For families with children
1) Child Development Account (CDA) First Step grant
A new CDA First Step grant has been introduced for all Singaporean children born from today. Parents will automatically receive S$3,000 in their child’s CDA, which can be used for their children’s healthcare and childcare needs.
This new initiative, which will help parents who may need more support to give their children a good start in life, will draw together government and community resources to help children receive appropriate learning, developmental and health support.
3) Fresh Start Housing Scheme
This scheme helps families with children who live in rental housing own a 2-room flat with a shorter lease. Those families who previously bought a flat and are no longer eligible for first-timer housing grants can now receive a grant of up to S$35,000. To be eligible, these families will need to demonstrate effort, for example by staying employed and making sure their children attend school.
4) National Outdoor Adventure Education Masterplan
To thrive, our young people need a sense of adventure, resilience, and be ready to challenge themselves to be their best. A new National Outdoor Adventure Education Masterplan will help our students develop these attributes.
For low-wage workers and persons with disabilities
5) Enhancements to Workfare Income Supplement (WIS)
The scheme will be enhanced to benefit more Singaporeans. The qualifying income ceiling has been raised from S$1,900 a month to S$2,000 a month. Eligible workers will receive higher payouts, which will vary depending on their age and income. WIS will be paid monthly for every month worked, rather than quarterly to help with more immediate cashflow needs. With these changes, WIS is expected to benefit about 460,000 Singaporeans and will cost about S$770 million.
6) Support for people with disabilities
People with disabilities who earn low wages and are under 35 years old will now also be eligible for the Workfare Training Support Scheme. Employers who hire persons with disabilities who earn up to S$4,000 a month will continue to receive the Special Employment Credit (SEC). They get a credit of up to 16% of the employee’s wages, twice as large as the SEC for older workers.
The scheme is expected to benefit more than 140,000 seniors and will cost close to S$320 million.
8) Community Networks for Seniors
10) GST Voucher – Cash Special Payment / Service & Conservancy Charges (S&CC) rebate
To support households amid current economic conditions, 1.4 million Singaporeans will receive a one-off GST Voucher – Cash Special Payment of up to $200 in 2016, depending on the annual value of their home, in addition to existing GSTV – Cash payouts.
A S&CC rebate will be provided to all HDB households, with 1- and 2-room HDB households receiving the highest rebate for a total of three months this year. This will cost the Government S$86 million and benefit about 840,000 HDB households.
Building a caring society
11) Support for Community Chest
To give a boost to ComChest’s good work in raising funds for VWOs across the entire social sector, the Government will provide dollar-for-dollar matching for any additional donations through SHARE, over and above FY2015 level for 3 years, starting from Apr 2016.
12) Our Singapore Fund
This new fund will support ground-up projects by passionate citizens that build “the spirit of caring and resilience, nurture our can-do spirit, and promote unity and our sense of being Singaporean.” The total fund size will be up to S$25 million and will be set up by the 2nd half of 2016.
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