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Budget 2024 – More Incentives For All Ages From Pre-School, ITE Grads to Age Well SG

Singapore Notes currency depicting the Singapore Budget 2024

Last Updated on by Tree of Wealth

Singapore Budget 2024 has unfolded with a forward-looking and inclusive agenda, earmarking significant investments aimed at uplifting every segment of society, particularly children, students, and seniors. Amidst a landscape of global uncertainty and evolving societal needs, the government has laid out a comprehensive blueprint to bolster the well-being and economic resilience of its citizens. This year’s budget, themed “Building Our Shared Future Together,” is a testament to the nation’s commitment to fostering a supportive environment where individuals can thrive across all stages of life.

For the elderly, the Majulah Package emerges as a cornerstone initiative, promising enhanced support for health and retirement needs. This initiative, coupled with adjustments to the CPF system and expansions in retirement savings schemes, illustrates a robust approach to ensuring financial security and quality of life for seniors. Meanwhile, the Age Well SG Programme further underscores the government’s dedication to enhancing senior care and active ageing through significant investments​​.

Children and students, the bedrock of Singapore’s future, are not left behind. With an emphasis on education and skills development, the budget introduces measures to nurture talent and equip the younger generation with the skills needed for the future. The introduction of additional SkillsFuture credits and subsidies for further education highlights a strategic investment in human capital, reinforcing the importance of lifelong learning and adaptability in an ever-changing global economy​​.

Lets dive into further details below:

Easing the Financial Burden: Enhanced Affordability for Pre-School Education in Singapore

Understanding the financial pressures that come with raising a family, the government has taken a significant step to ease the cost of early childhood education. Starting from 2025, parents with children in government-supported pre-schools can anticipate a welcome reduction in childcare fees. This initiative targets both anchor and partner operators, setting new monthly fee caps at S$640 and S$680 respectively, ensuring pre-school education becomes more accessible for all.

Looking ahead to 2026, further reductions in fee caps are on the horizon, promising additional relief for families. To support this fee reduction, government funding will be channeled to these operators, ensuring that quality education remains uncompromised while becoming more affordable.

For families at the lower end of the income spectrum, the extension of subsidies is particularly noteworthy. Working mothers currently benefit from a basic childcare subsidy of S$300. This provision will now expand to include non-working mothers from lower-income families, who will be eligible for a S$150 subsidy, potentially benefiting up to 17,000 children.

Moreover, the introduction of ComLink+ Progress Packages offers an innovative approach to support lower-income families further. By incentivizing the enrollment of children in pre-school from the age of three, these packages not only foster early childhood development but also contribute to the family’s financial stability and future savings. A notable feature is the one-off $500 top-up to the child’s Child Development Account (CDA), providing a direct boost to the family’s educational savings.

This suite of measures ensures that the cost of sending a child to a full-day pre-school will soon be on par with the expenses associated with primary school education and after-school care for a child. It’s a thoughtful approach to alleviating the financial strain on dual-income families, enabling them to invest in their children’s early education without compromising on quality or accessibility.

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Enhancing Support for Individuals with Special Needs: A Comprehensive Approach

Navigating the journey of supporting individuals with special needs presents unique challenges, particularly when it comes to ensuring they receive the necessary care, education, and training. Recognizing the financial and emotional strains faced by families, the government has introduced a series of measures aimed at making specialized education and care more accessible and affordable.

For families with children in special education schools (SPED), the government has announced a reduction in the maximum monthly fees from S$150 to S$90. This significant decrease aims to relieve the financial burden on families, ensuring that children with special needs can continue to receive quality education tailored to their needs without imposing excessive financial strain on their families.

In addition to educational support, the government is also focusing on reducing the fees at all special student care centres. This move is designed to further lessen the out-of-pocket expenses for families, providing them with more financial flexibility and peace of mind.

Recognizing that support should not end with childhood, the government’s initiatives extend to adults with special needs as well. Efforts to enhance their integration into the community include expanded spaces in sheltered workshops and day activity centres. These venues offer vocational training and skills development programs aimed at improving employability and fostering a sense of independence and self-reliance among adults with special needs.

To bolster community support, the launch of more Enabling Services Hubs is underway. These hubs serve as a vital resource for adults with special needs and their caregivers, offering a range of services and programs designed to support their well-being and integration into the community. The first of these hubs was inaugurated in Tampines West Community Club in 2023, marking a significant step forward in creating a more inclusive society.

Through these comprehensive measures, the government demonstrates its commitment to supporting individuals with special needs and their families, ensuring they have access to the resources and support needed to lead fulfilling lives.

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Majulah Package

The introduction of the Majulah Package during last year’s National Day Rally marked a significant commitment towards enhancing the retirement savings of Singaporean seniors born in 1973 and earlier. This initiative is designed to bolster the financial security of our elderly population, ensuring they have the means to enjoy a dignified retirement.

Under the Majulah Package, seniors engaging in full-time or part-time employment, with monthly earnings up to S$6,000, are set to benefit from the Earn and Save bonus. This bonus, amounting to up to S$1,000, will be credited to their Central Provident Fund (CPF) Retirement Account (RA) or Special Account (SA) in March 2025. The structure of the bonus is tiered according to the individual’s average monthly income, as follows:

  • Those earning between $500 and $2,500 will receive a bonus of $1,000.
  • Earnings more than $2,500 but not exceeding $3,500 will attract a bonus of $700.
  • For incomes above $3,500 up to $6,000, the bonus will be $400.

Special considerations are in place for persons with disabilities, recipients of ComCare Short-to-Medium Term Assistance, and caregivers of individuals with permanent moderate to severe disabilities. These groups are eligible for a concessionary Earn and Save Bonus (ESB) of $400 per year, regardless of earning less than $500 monthly.


Highlights from the 2023 National Day Rally – The Majulah Package

Furthermore, a one-time retirement savings bonus ranging from $1,000 to $1,500 will be distributed in December 2024. This is aimed at seniors whose retirement savings fall below the 2023 Basic Retirement Sum of $99,400. To be eligible for this bonus, seniors must reside in a property with an annual value of $25,000 or less and own no more than one property.

Additionally, a one-time MediSave Bonus will be disbursed in December 2024 to seniors born in 1973 or earlier. This bonus is tiered to ensure those with less means receive more support, with $1,500 for those with less means and $750 for others.

The Majulah Package represents a thoughtful approach to supporting our seniors’ transition into retirement, emphasizing the government’s commitment to ensuring that older Singaporeans can look forward to their golden years with confidence and stability.

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Silver Support Scheme Improvements

Enhancements to the Silver Support Scheme, set to take effect from 2025, aim to provide greater financial support to senior Singaporeans with lesser means for their retirement. Here’s a revised table reflecting the updated scheme details:

HDB Flat Type Quarterly Payout for Income ≤ S$1,500 Quarterly Payout for Income > S$1,500 to ≤ S$2,300
1- and 2-Room S$1,080 S$540
3-Room S$860 S$430
4-Room S$650 S$325
5-Room S$430 S$215

We can see the adjustments in quarterly payments under the Silver Support Scheme, with a 20% increase in payments to bolster support for eligible seniors.

Additionally, it illustrates the uplift in the qualifying household monthly income per person threshold from S$1,800 to S$2,300, and delineates the revised payout amounts based on both the HDB flat type and the household’s monthly income per person.

Total CPF contributions by the age of 55 not exceeding S$140,000 is a criterion for eligibility.

These enhancements ensure that more senior Singaporeans can benefit from the scheme, reflecting the government’s commitment to supporting the financial well-being of older citizens with increased retirement support.

New Initiative: Age Well SG

The Age Well SG initiative stands as a visionary blueprint by the Singapore government, earmarked with a substantial investment of S$3.5 billion over the next decade. This national program is precisely crafted to enrich the lives of seniors, fostering an environment that encourages active aging and enhances social connectivity.

Central to the Age Well SG initiatives are the plans to significantly expand the network of active ageing centres. These centres are poised to become vibrant hubs for seniors, offering a wide array of physical exercises and volunteering opportunities. The goal is to create a nurturing space where seniors can engage in meaningful interactions, stay physically active, and contribute positively to their communities.

Moreover, the initiative takes a holistic approach to senior living by introducing more assisted living options, such as Community Care apartments. These living spaces are designed with the seniors’ needs in mind, integrating essential services and facilities to support their independence and well-being.

The physical landscape of residential estates will also see transformative “silver upgrades.” These enhancements include the installation of senior-friendly fixtures like barrier-free ramps, home fittings tailored for safety and convenience, such as shower seats and wider entrances, and the creation of therapeutic gardens. These gardens are not just spaces of tranquility but are also intended to stimulate sensory experiences and promote relaxation among seniors.

Commuter infrastructure will undergo improvements to become more senior-friendly. Efforts will be made to incorporate facilities like sheltered linkways and pedestrian-friendly roads, ensuring that seniors can navigate their communities with ease and safety.

Through the Age Well SG initiative, the government underscores its commitment to creating a supportive and inclusive society where seniors can lead fulfilling lives, remain engaged with their communities, and age gracefully and actively.

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Empowering ITE Graduates

The Singapore government is dedicated to empowering ITE graduates to further their education and enhance their career prospects through the newly introduced ITE Progression Award. This initiative underscores the government’s commitment to lifelong learning and skills advancement among young professionals.

With this award, ITE graduates who decide to pursue a diploma programme will receive a significant financial boost, with a S$5,000 top-up to their Post Secondary Education Accounts (PSEA). Further supporting their journey towards higher education, an additional S$10,000 will be credited to their CPF Ordinary Accounts (OA) upon the successful completion of their diploma.

This strategic move aims to motivate ITE graduates to continue their upskilling efforts, aligning with the government’s vision of fostering a highly skilled workforce. Mr. Wong’s statement highlights the objective of this initiative: to facilitate ITE graduates in achieving excellence in their chosen professions, thereby improving their career and wage trajectories. This support not only benefits the individuals but also contributes to the nation’s broader goal of economic resilience and competitiveness.

By staying informed and actively managing their CPF contributions, Singaporeans can maximize the benefits of the revised CPF system. This proactive approach to retirement planning is essential for achieving financial security and a comfortable retirement.

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