Measures To Help Households Include Cash Payouts & Loan Flexibility To Ease Economic Burden

Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat announced measures specifically targeted at providing Singaporean households with financial aid in the Resilience Budget on Thursday (26 Mar).

The measures to help households will involve mainly government payouts to households, as many have expressed concerns over paying for basic necessities and household expenses since their incomes have been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

First of all, all adult Singaporeans will receive cash payouts of either $300, $600 or $900. Here’s a summary of the measures:

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Supporting Singaporeans’ daily expenses

On Thursday (26 Mar), Mr Heng announced that the Care and Support Package previously introduced in the Unity Package will be boosted.

The amount of cash payouts to Singaporeans, previously fixed at from $100 to $300 in the Unity Budget, has tripled to from $300 to $900, depending on income.

Families will receive an extra cash payout of $300, up from $100, if they have at least one Singaporean child aged below 21.

The Enhanced Workforce Special Payment will give low-wage workers a $3,000 cash payout meant for their household needs and necessities. Previously, it was 20 per cent of their Workfare Income Supplement payout.

Furthermore, grocery vouchers given to low-income or needy Singaporeans earlier this year will be tripled in value. These are meant to help them with daily expenses and the cost of groceries.

They will receive a total of $400 in vouchers over this year and 2021.

The top-up of $100 in seniors’ PAssion Cards will be given in cash, directly to their designated bank accounts, instead.

Enhanced support network

Mr Heng also announced additional grants for support groups to help them give additional aid to their communities.

Self-help groups were previously given grants to fund their schemes. The government plans to double these grants to $20 million.

Community Development Councils (CDCs) will get $75 million, up from $20 million before.

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$25 million has also been set aside to provide Covid-19 relief to low- to middle-income union members. They will receive a cash relief of up to $300 as a one-off payment.

Loan relief for students and HDB mortgage

The Government is also being more flexible with repayment of loans and fees during this difficult period.

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All government charges and fees will be frozen for a year, from 1 Apr, 2020 to 31 Mar, 2021, Mr Heng said.

Graduates will receive relief from their student loans as well, as the government is suspending loan repayment as well as interest charges on government loans for university and polytechnic studies from 1 June, 2020 to 31 May, 2021.

There will be a 3-month suspension of late-payment charges on HDB mortgage arrears, too.

Mr Heng also announced that HDB will continue to be flexible in providing assistance, via other measures like deferring loan instalment payments for 6 months.

Featured image adapted from AsiaOne.