There is good news for to-be second-time parents. Earlier today, Parliament announced additional financial support for parents who are set to have second babies from January (this year). Such couples will receive $6,000 in co-funding, which is up from the existing $3,000 for a first or second born, through the Child Development Account (CDA).
This new package is applicable to Singaporean babies who are second borns. The only stipulation is that their estimated date of delivery (EDD) or date of birth should be on or post January 1, 2021.
This announcement was made today (Feb 26) by Indranee Rajah, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office during a budget debate session. About 12,000 Singaporean babies are set to benefit annually from this elevated funding.
What Is CDA And How It Helps Singaporean Parents
Child Development Account or CDA is a special savings account for and by parents. Its funds can be utilised at approved institutions for the payment of medical expenses, childcare fee, and more.
It is in this account that parents will receive this additional financial support.
Talking about the package, Ms Rajah shared that the increased dollar-for-dollar match by the government is part of their effort to provide more financial support to Singaporean couples. Especially, those who might have more than one child.
The financial support package will ensure that second-time parents receive up to $24,000. It also includes other components such as Baby Bonus Cash Gift, Baby Support Grant and MediSave grant for newborns.
What This New Change Means For Singaporean Parents
Graphic: Prime Minister’s Office
As you know, under the Baby Bonus scheme, parents deposited some savings into the account. These savings were then matched dollar-for-dollar by the government up to a cap. This meant that parents typically receive an additional $3,000 for their second born, till last year.
But with the latest increase, now:
Total governmental contribution towards a second born’s CDA will now go up to $9,000, up from the existing ceiling of $6,000 for a first or second child
Package will go up to $12,000 for a third or fourth child
Total package will go up to $18,000 for subsequent children
While speaking during the debate, Ms Rajah, who oversees the National Population and Talent Division (NPTD) shared: “While most married Singaporeans wish to have two or more children, and the majority still do, a growing number have only one child.”
This statement was in response to growing concerns about Singapore’s low total fertility rate (TFR) and how government can give couples more support to start and expand their families.
Many MPs, including Ms Denise Phua (Jalan Besar GRC), Ms Cheng Li Hui (Tampines GRC), and Mr Louis Ng (Nee Soon GRC) raised concerns about this issue.
Singapore’s Total Fertility Rate Dropped To Its Lowest In 2020
Graph by theAsianparent
The additional financial support seems to have been a knee-jerk but well-thought out response to the dipping total fertility rate (TFR). For the uninitiated, the Republic’s TFR was 1.1 last year, a historic low; that’s a dip from 1.14 births per woman in both, 2018 and 2019.
“Covid-19 has caused some Singaporeans to postpone their marriage, resulting in about 10 per cent fewer marriages in 2020 compared to 2019. Others have delayed their parenthood plans,” Ms Rajah noted, while addressing the TRF concerns.
“Raising fertility is an uphill task for advanced societies, but we must continue to support those who wish to marry and have children,” she added. Ms Rajah also added that the $3,000 Baby Support Grant that was introduced last October to defray the costs of having a child during the pandemic, has benefitted almost 10,000 Singaporean families already.
Cash Benefits To Parents Who Are Not Eligible For Paternity Or Adoption Leave
The new package will also provide help to parents who may not be eligible for paternity or adoption leave, due to their employment arrangements.
Support given to adoptive parents. Such parents will be extended support through the Government-Paid Paternity Benefit or the Government-Paid Adoption Benefit.
Eligibility for adoptive parents. Parents whose formal intent is to adopt or whose child’s EDD or date of birth is on or post January 1, 2021. Such parents should be able to show proof of work for at least 90 days or 12 months. This, prior to the child’s EDD or date of birth or formal intent to adopt.
“This is similar to the current Government-Paid Maternity Benefit for working mothers, where a cash benefit is given in lieu of the government-paid share of leave if their employment circumstances do not qualify them for leave,” Ms Rajah said about the additional financial support.
This thoughtful step taken by the government will benefit close to 500 adoptive father and mothers in Singapore.
Source: Made For Families