Last Updated on December 7, 2022 by Parentology
The Baby Bonus Scheme was set up by the Ministry of Social and Family Development to aid parents in Singapore by offsetting the financial costs of childbirth and raising children. Its benefits are split into two categories:
The first is the provision of a cash gift at the time of the child’s birth. This amount increases based on child order (i.e. the more children you have had, the greater the cash gift) in order to encourage families to have more children, and varies from $6,000 to $10,000 per child depending on order and date of birth. The cash gift is disbursed within weeks of birth or of registration for the Baby Bonus Scheme, whichever comes later, and is provided in installments until the child turns 18 months of age. It is generally used to offset the daily costs of a new infant.
The second benefit comes in the form of the Child Development Account, which can be opened with DBS, UOB, or OCBC. When the account is opened, you are gifted another cash gift of $3,000 just for opening the account, which is credited to the account within 2 weeks of opening. The other benefit of the account is the government co-matching: for every dollar you save into the account, the government also co-matches the amount up to a cap (also varying from child to child).
To that end, many parents want to know about their eligibility for the scheme based on various circumstances, so that is what we will cover in this article! There are two main criteria for a child to qualify for the entire Baby Bonus Scheme: both child’s parents must be married and the child must be a Singaporean Citizen in order to qualify for both Baby Bonus Scheme benefits (initial cash gift and CDA benefits). If you are still unsure, you may also use the ‘Check Eligibility’ tool on Baby Bonus Online. MSF has also released a set of guides on how to navigate the platform under the tag of #BiteSizedBabyBonus, which you can find online.
Unwed Parent Pairs
In the following circumstances, a Singaporean Citizen child born after 1 September 2016 will only qualify for Child Development Account Benefits as one of the eligibility criteria for the Baby Bonus Scheme is that both parents of the child are lawfully married and that your spouse’s name is reflected on the child’s birth certificate.
- If you are married, but not to the father of your child.
- Children of unwed parents in general, including single parents.
If you get married to the child’s father after the birth of your child, and your child is a Singaporean Citizen under 12, they will qualify for the Baby Bonus Scheme as long as their father’s name is on the certificate. If their father’s name was not previously added to the certificate, you may add it on afterwards by checking with the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) on how to do so.
If you have yet to register them, you can simply register on Baby Bonus Online as per normal. Suppose you have previously already registered them for it. In that case, you can then email a copy of your child’s birth certificate (with both lawfully-wedded parents’ names on it) and your marriage certificate to email@example.com. MSF will then update you on what to do next to ensure you get your updated benefits.
Do note that despite this limitation, children can still enjoy childcare-related benefits under other programmes in the Marriage and Parenthood Package, including childcare leave for parents, unpaid infant care leave, MediSave grants, enhanced subsidies for infant care and childcare, as well as levy concessions if hiring foreign domestic workers or confinement nannies. More details are included on the Made for Families website, and you can also read up on the programmes (such as Government-Paid Maternity Leave and Government-Paid Paternity Leave) on our website.
It is the citizenship of the child that is directly relevant to their eligibility. If your child is a Singaporean Citizen, then you do not have to worry about this, but there may be some extraneous circumstances that you might want to check.
For instance, if both parents are Singaporean Citizens but your baby was born overseas, you must first ensure that your child obtains Singaporean Citizenship, depending on the situation. Once they have Singaporean Citizenship, they will then qualify for the Baby Bonus Scheme. As part of the online application you will be asked to fill out citizenship-related questions under Section C, as well as to provide the following documents:
- Birth certificates of all of your children
- Citizenship certificates of all of your children, if applicable
- Your marriage certificate
- The NRICs of both parents
If additional documentation is needed, you will be further contacted by MSF officers. You can check the status of your application on Baby Bonus Online after submitting it, and once approved you can check what benefits your child will be receiving on the same portal even from overseas.
For parents (one or both) who are Singaporean Citizens at the time of their child’s birth, the child can obtain full benefits as long as they obtain Singaporean Citizenship and are registered for the scheme by the end of the year they turn 12.
On the other hand, if you and your spouse and are both Singaporean Permanent Residents have given birth to your child in Singapore, what does that mean?
Unfortunately, this does not make your child a Singaporean Citizen and therefore does not qualify them for the Baby Bonus Scheme. For parents who are not citizens at the time of the child’s birth, and who then go on to gain citizenship for their child, pro-rated benefits become eligible according to the following criteria:
- To be eligible for the cash gift, the child must become a Singaporean Citizen before 24 months (2 years) of age.
- To be eligible for any Child Development Account benefits, the child must become a Singaporean Citizen before they are 12. The CDA benefits are then adjusted based on the date they obtain citizenship on; usually, the earlier the date, the more benefits you will be able to retain.
In both cases (whether the child’s parents were citizens at the time of birth or not), the child’s individual eligibility for government co-matching contribution (part of the CDA benefits, where they match every dollar you put in the Child Development Account) depends on their date of birth and birth order once they have been registered for the scheme. Third and subsequent children usually receive greater benefits in order to encourage parents to have more children.
You can check this information online on the Baby Bonus Portal, as always, with the ‘Check Eligibility’ tool. If you would like to check your child’s CDA government co-matching cap (the maximum amount the government will match up to), you can select ‘View Account Summary’ under the Services tab as well.
In cases of adoptive children and their eligibility for the Baby Bonus Scheme, the same principles stand – as long as your adopted child was born after 2009, is a Singaporean Citizen, and their adoptive parents (you and your spouse) are married at the time of adoption (specifically on the date at which your Adoption Order is obtained), then they are eligible for full benefits once the adoption has gone through (along with the above-listed caveats regarding the cash gift and proration).
On the other hand, if your adopted child is born before 13 July 2015 but only received citizenship after adoption, they are only eligible for pro-rated benefits.
In the event of Demise
In the case that your child has passed away, any outstanding cash gifts will be paid in one lump sum. If the Child Development Account has already been opened, any savings placed into the CDA until the date of demise will be co-matched, and the money will be transferred to the Public Trustee for distribution according to either the Interstate Succession Act or Syariah Law, both of which govern the distribution of property after death.