Amidst the triple whammy of soaring inflation, rising interest rates, and impending GST rate increase, Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong has announced an additional $1.5 billion support package to help Singapore households tide through this challenging time.
Measures contained in this support package work in conjunction with the $7.5 billion GST Assurance Package announced previously. Here’s how much exactly you’ll receive, depending on your income and property ownership.
Overview of COL Special Payment and Recap of GST Assurance Package Cash Payment
The main thrust of this support package is a cost-of-living (COL) Special Payment of up to $500 in cash for 2.5 million Singaporeans. The quantum of this payment is sized to fully cover the average increase in cost of living for the lower-income household, and help defray half the average increase in cost of living for middle-income households for the year of 2022. Details of how this sum is derived can be found in this Ministry of Finance report.
This cash payment is only for Singaporeans aged 21 or above in 2023S. How much they will receive (if at all) depends on two further eligibility criteria
In other words, adult Singaporeans would be receiving anywhere from $100 to $700 in cash payouts in December from the GST Assurance Package and COL Special Payment. No application is required, as the payments will be made automatically.
Other Support Measures Announced Under October 2022 Support Package
Together with the substantial cash payouts, here are other elements of the support package that Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Lawrence Wong announced in October 2022.
Third Tranche of CDC Vouchers: In January 2023, an additional $100 in CDC Vouchers will be disbursed to Singaporean households, on top of the $200 in CDC Vouchers earlier announced. This makes a total of $300 in this latest round of disbursements, following two earlier disbursements of $100 each.
Public Transport Vouchers and Subsidies: $30 in Public Transport Vouchers will be given out to households with a per capita household income of not more than $1,600. These vouchers can be used to top-up EZ-Link cards or buy concession/monthly travel passes. Furthermore, the government will set aside $200 million to push the planned 10.6% fare increase to future fare review exercises by the Public Transport Council.
Enhancements to MOE Financial Assistance: From 1 January 2023, the Ministry of Education will expand their income eligibility criteria in order to defray school expenses for even more students in primary, secondary, pre-university students, as well as for bursary recipients studying in post-secondary education institutions (PSEIs). Financial support for these students include subsidies for public transport, school buses, school meals, as well as increase in bursary awards.
Continued Support for Singaporeans Amidst Challenging Times Ahead
In his National Day Rally 2022 speech, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong promised that while Singapore tightens its exchange rate policy and strengthened the Singapore dollar to dampen imported inflation, the government “stands ready to do more to help Singaporeans if things worsen”.
The announcement of this latest suite of support measures is concrete proof of the government honouring its commitment to Singaporeans, and while the financial support will undoubtedly be appreciated, the message of assurance that this brings would perhaps have a deeper, more lasting impact in the lives of Singaporeans – long after the payouts have been spent.