A Parent’s Guide to Childcare Subsidies in Singapore

Raising a child takes a village. It can be physically taxing, mentally challenging, and financially draining on new parents. Thankfully for parents in Singapore, the government has taken measures to alleviate the costs of raising a child.

This includes the Baby Bonus Scheme, as well as a plethora of childcare subsidies.

While the Baby Bonus Scheme is not used solely for childcare, it contributes significantly with the amount given both in cash gifts and its dollar-for-dollar co-matching savings for the child.

Parents will receive part of the Baby Bonus Cash Gift every six months until their child turns 6½ years old.

Subsidies For Infant Care, Child Care, and Kindergarten

Nevertheless, with the rising cost of living in Singapore, having a newborn and raising a child is expensive. To further defray the costs of raising a child, the government also has a range of subsidies available for infant care, child care, and kindergarten.

The available subsidies are Basic Subsidy, Additional Subsidy, Child Care Financial Assistance and Start-Up Grant, Kindergarten Fee Assistance Scheme, and KiFAS Start Up Grant.

Basic Subsidy

Parents whose children are Singapore Citizens are entitled to the Basic Subsidy. The child must be enrolled in an Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) licensed childcare centre to be eligible for this subsidy.

For the Basic Subsidy, the family’s income level does not matter as the amount given will depend on the mother’s working status. Working mothers will be given a higher subsidy of S$600 for a full-day infant care subsidy or S$300 for a full-day childcare subsidy, while non-working mothers receive an S$150 subsidy.

Additional Childcare Subsidy

On top of the Basic Subsidy, eligible families can also apply for Additional Subsidy. This is only available to families with a working mother or a single father.

To be eligible, the family must meet the following criteria:

  • Gross monthly household income of S$12,000 or below, or
  • Gross monthly per capita income of S$3,000 and below for larger families with at least three dependents who are not earning an income

In addition to the income eligibility, working mothers or single fathers must also work for at least 56 hours a month in any work arrangement to apply for the Additional Subsidy.

The breakdowns of child and infant care subsidies are as follows:

Source: Made For Families

Read More: Parenting 101: What is a Child Development Account, and How to Maximise It For Your Kid

Child Care Financial Assistance and Start-Up Grant

Families who have difficulties paying childcare for their kids even after receiving both the Basic and Additional Subsidies can apply for financial assistance. Additionally, they can also apply for a one-time Start-Up Grant to help pay for the costs of enrolling their child into an infant or child care.

The application criteria are:

  • Child is a Singapore Citizen
  • Enrolled in an affordable infant or childcare centre
  • Both parents must be working at least 56 hours per month, or with a valid reason for not working
  • Application supported with relevant documents

To apply for either assistance, families can approach their childcare or infant care centres for more details and file an application.

Kindergarten Fee Assistance Scheme (KiFAS)

The Kindergarten Fee Assistance Scheme (KiFAS) was introduced to ensure kindergarten remains affordable and accessible for Singaporean children regardless of their family income.

Subsidies between S$17 to S$161 a month are directly dependent on the household income and will be directly disbursed to the child’s kindergarten. The criteria for KiFAS are:

  • Singaporean child
  • Enrolled in an Anchor Operator or Ministry of Education Kindergarten
  • Monthly household income of up to S$12,000 or monthly household income per capita of up to S$3,000 for larger families

Non-parent caregivers caring for the child, such as grandparents, legal guardians, foster parents and children’s homes, can also apply for higher subsidy support under Special Approval. Children under the HDB’s Public Rental Scheme or ComCare Short-To-Medium-Term Assistance (SMTA) or Long-Term Assistance (LTA) will automatically qualify for maximum preschool subsidies upon application for Special Approval.

The subsidy will be directly disbursed to the child’s kindergarten and parents will only need to pay the net fee, which can come from the child’s CDA. Subsidy eligibility will be assessed and/or reassessed when the child enrols at a new kindergarten, or when the child is promoted from Nursery 2 (N2) to Kindergarten 1 (K1).

KiFAS Start Up Grant (SUG)

The KiFAS Start Up Grant (SUG) is a yearly grant covering the initial costs of attending a kindergarten, such as registration fees, deposit, school uniform, insurance, and educational material fees. The criteria for SUG are:

  • Child is a Singapore Citizen
  • Families with monthly gross income of up to S$1,900 or gross per capita income of up to S$650

Assessed on a case-by-case basis, the SUG amount is capped at S$240 and the application form can be obtained and submitted through the child’s kindergarten.

In Conclusion…

Between the cost of delivery, diapers, baby food, infant care, and then childcare, expenses can quickly add up for new parents. Making full use of all the childcare-related subsidies that you are entitled to can help to defray some of the costs, and we know that every bit counts.

If you are currently expecting and want to know more about maternity insurance, as well as protection for your newborn, feel free to reach out to the Planner Bee team at ask@plannerbee.co and let us help you.

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