All adult Singaporeans will each get a cash payout of between S$700 to S$1,600 over five years, starting from this year, Finance Minister Lawrence Wong announced today (Feb. 18) during his Budget 2022 speech.
This is part of a S$6.6 billion Assurance Package that aims to offset the increase in expenses from the GST hike also announced in the same speech.
The figure is S$640 million more than what was previously announced in Budget 2020 and in Parliament this year.
Eligible HDB households to receive between S$330 to S$570 in additional GST vouchers
The Assurance Package payouts will offset at least five years of additional GST expenses for the majority of Singaporeans households, and about 10 years for lower-income households, Wong said.
Wong also announced other payouts under the enhanced Assurance Package.
All Singaporean households will receive two tranches of S$200 Community Development Council (CDC) vouchers which will be disbursed in 2023 and 2024.
These vouchers can be used at all participating heartland merchants and hawkers, and at major supermarkets.
Eligible HDB households will also receive between S$330 to S$570 in additional U-Save rebates over four years, starting from 2023, depending on flat type.
Eligible seniors aged 55 and above will also receive an additional S$600 to S$900 in "Seniors' Bonus" GST vouchers over three years, starting from 2023.
All Singaporean children aged 20 and below, and seniors aged 55 and above will receive S$450 in Medisave top-ups over three years, starting from 2023.
S$5 million top-up to CCC Comcare Fund, S$12 million to Self-Help Groups
Wong said that even with these offsets, "some vulnerable households may require more support".
He said that households with "urgent needs" can approach their Citizen's Consultative Committees (CCC) for assistance.
Wong said he will top up the CCC Comcare Fund by S$5 million over five years, and provide a total of S$12 million over four years to the Self-Help Groups.
Enhancements to GST Voucher Scheme
Wong also announced three enhancements to the GST Voucher scheme, which he said will "provide continuing offsets for the GST expenses of lower- to middle-income households, and most retiree households" beyond the period covered by the Assurance Package.
The GST voucher scheme, which is a permanent scheme in Singapore, will have its Assessable Income threshold for GST vouchers increased from S$28,000 to S$34,000, to cover more Singaporeans.
The Service and Conservancy Charges Rebate will also be made a permanent component of the GST Voucher scheme.
Those residing in homes with an Annual Value of less than S$13,000 will receive an increased cash payout of S$500, those residing in homes with Annual Values of between S$13,000 and S$21,000 will receive S$250.
Wong said that the enhancements in the GST Voucher scheme will fully offset the total GST that retirees living in one- to four-room HSB flats have to pay.
For low-income households without elderly members, the GST vouchers will offset about half their total GST expenses every year.
Assurance Package and enhanced GST Voucher scheme to kick in before GST hike
The Assurance Package and the enhancements to the GST Voucher scheme will be implemented together, and before the GST rate increase, "so that Singaporeans can benefit from both schemes at the same time", said Wong.
Wong stressed that the effect of the GST hike on low-income households will be "neutralised", due to the offsets from the Assurance Package and the enhanced GST voucher scheme.
Wong spoke of ensuring Singapore's fair and progressive tax system, with those with more contributing more in taxes than their benefits, and those with less still contributing but also receiving more help.
Wong said this reflects Singapore's values and who we are as a society.
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