Singapore is notoriously known for being “old-fashioned” when it comes to laws governing benefits and subsidies available to single parents. However, due to recent lobbying by various interest groups, the government relaxes some requirements to help single parents access grants and benefits traditionally available only to married parents.
Maternity and Paternity Leave
Single mothers have 16 weeks of paid maternity leave while single fathers have two weeks of paid paternity leave. As long as your child is a Singapore citizen, you are entitled to it. However, you need to be in your job (employed or self-employed) for at least three months before childbirth to qualify.
Single parents can access two components of the Baby Bonus Scheme. Parents need to open a Child Development Account (CDA) with DBS, OCBC or UOB up to eight weeks before the child is born. The First Step Grant disburses $3000 into the CDA and also match dollar-for-dollar of savings (up to $3000) deposited into the CDA before the child turns 12 years old.
Good news for all single parents as you can now apply for a 3-room BTO in a non-matured estate on top of the current 2-rooms BTOs and resale flats. The relaxation of the rule allows single parents to provide their children with a better environment to grow up in. Single parents applying for BTO or buying resale flats have access to a few housing grants, including the Additional CPF Housing Grant, Special CPF Housing Grant, and Proximity Housing Grant. You can find out more at the HDB website.
Foreign Domestic Worker Levy
Single parents are eligible to apply for levy concession if they wish to hire a helper to help out at home. Under the Young Child Scheme, you can save $60/month if your child is a Singaporean, under 16 years old and living with you.
Subsidies for infant care and childcare are available for all Singaporean children, regardless of parent’s income, as long as the parent is a working mother. There is a tiered approach to these subsidies, providing financial relief to both single and married parents. Additional help is also available via the Additional Childcare Subsidy, where the criteria for qualification depends on the parent’s income. There is also the Kindergarten Fee Assistance Scheme, (KiFAS), where single parents can gain access to subsidies for their children’s kindergarten education.
Medisave Grants for Newborns
Newborns are given a Medisave grant of $4000 deposited into their CPF Medisave Account. The money in this account can be used to pay both hospitalisation and specific outpatient expenses, MediShield Life premiums (see below) and childhood vaccinations.
MediShield Life Coverage
All children born in Singapore and are Singaporeans are covered under MediShield Life, a basic health insurance that helps to pay hefty hospital bills and costly outpatient treatments. The coverage includes congenital and neonatal conditions, but the coverage is only enough for treatments in public hospitals.
MOE Financial Assistance Scheme
Single parents with a gross household income of $2750/month or lesser are also eligible to receive financial assistance for their children’ schools fees and textbooks. You can find out more at the MOE website.