Last Updated on January 10, 2023 by Parentology
The Baby Bonus Scheme, as a part of the MSF’s Marriage and Parenthood Package, is a financial support aid provided to parents to help offset the costs of having children and to ensure that every child has the resources they need to grow up well. Under this scheme, parents are able to obtain two main benefits for their children: the first is the immediate cash gift when your child is born or when you register your child for the programme. The second is the Child Development Account benefits, which come with a First Step Grant (a one-time cash gift when you open this account), as well as co-matching every dollar you save in the account up to a certain amount.
This article aims to cover the processes of applying for the Baby Bonus Grant and answer any potential queries future caregivers or parents may have about it. For a quick video guide on the Baby Bonus Scheme, however, you may want to refer to MSF’s video series under the tag #BiteSizedBabyBonus. It can be found on Facebook, on the Baby Bonus Parenting Resources page.
Applying for the Baby Bonus Scheme
Applying for the Baby Bonus Scheme is as simple as submitting an online form on the Baby Bonus Online website (unfortunately it is not possible to submit any hardcopy forms, which have been discontinued since 2015).
You may register for the scheme before your child is born – this is called pre-birth registration (it is not compulsory), and you will need certain information for it, one of which is the Estimated Date of Delivery (EDD). This information is typically provided by your physician, but you can fill out the form with an estimated date you have selected on your own. Do note, however, that the actual birth registration of your child must be done within 8 weeks of the EDD you have indicated, or the system will not retain the registration details and you will be required to register for the scheme again. You can carry out a pre-birth registration as early as 8 weeks and up to 2 weeks before your estimated date of delivery as long as your marriage is registered in Singapore, there is no change in your IC on your marriage certificates, and you plan to give birth in Singapore. As long as the above criteria are met, you may register, and it will go into action as soon as your child is born.
Pre-birth registration unfortunately cannot be done for an adopted child – the adoption process must be completed, and the child must obtain Singaporean citizenship, if necessary, before you are able to register them for the scheme. This can only happen after the birth of the child.
You can still register your child for the Baby Bonus Scheme after birth, however, and you will need to include the following forms on the portal when applying:
- Child’s Adoption Order and The Schedule
- Birth certificates of all your children
- Citizenship Certificates of all your children, if applicable
- Marriage Certificate of adoptive parents
- Copies of both adoptive parents’ NRICs – front and back – or foreign passport if applicable
If you did a pre-birth registration, you do not need to update Baby Bonus Online with your child’s details after birth. Upon birth, the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority will have received your child’s information and they will update MSF (and thus Baby Bonus) within 3 days after you have registered the birth of your child. You will then be automatically enrolled into the programme.
In the meantime (between pre-birth registration and actual birth), you will notice that the status of your application reads ‘submitted’. It will stay at this status until you have given birth to your child and their details have been registered with ICA.
To check on the status of your application, you can use the ‘Update Application/Check Status’ function on Baby Bonus Online
Post-birth registration is also possible – simply go onto Baby Bonus and note the date of birth of your child, and fill out the rest of the form as usual.
Once registration is complete, there is nothing else you have to do. If eligible and approved, you will receive the first cash gift after the birth of your child, and the CDA will be opened automatically. The First Step Grant will also be credited to the account automatically within 2 weeks.
If you receive news that your application was unsuccessful, however, it could be that the information you have keyed in is incorrect or does not match any records in the MSF database. In this case, do review the application again to make sure all of your information is correct; if they are wrong, do resubmit the application with the corrected details.
Unfortunately, you will not be able to cancel your child’s Baby Bonus application once you have submitted it. You can, however, make edits on the portal, or simply email them at email@example.com if all you are attempting to do is make changes to the application. If you are having trouble with the application, you can reach out to the above email, or call their hotline at 1800-111-2222 on Mondays to Fridays from 8:30 AM to 6:00 PM, or on Saturdays from 8:30 AM to 1:00 PM.
For in-person help, you can stop by the Baby Bonus One-stop CEntres at ICA and various maternity hospitals in Singapore:
- Gleneagles Hospital
- KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital
- Mount Alvernia Hospital
- Mount Elizabeth Hospital
- Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital
- National University Hospital
- Parkway East Hospital
- Raffles Hospital
- Singapore General Hospital
- Thomson Medical Centre
You can also reach out to the Citizen Connect Centres (CCCs) at Community Centres, or the MSF Baby Bonus & Leave Branch at 20 Lengkok Bahru, #04-02, Family@Enabling Village, S159053.
Bank Accounts and Finances
The Baby Bonus Scheme’s two parts – the cash gift and the CDA – require the registration of a nominated bank account holder and a trustee for the CDA. The nominated bank account holder will be the one who will submit their bank account to receive the cash gift which is provided at birth or registration, and the CDA trustee will be the person who holds access to the account as well as the money in it including the First Step Grant and the co-matching that goes into the account. The First Step Grant (provided when the CDA is first opened) and the government co-matching amounts are usually credited into the account within 2 weeks.
Both of these people can be the same people or different people, as long as they are 18 and not bankrupt. They are usually the parents or caregivers but can be a third party – grandparents, for example. If the trustee is a foreigner or a third party (an adult who is not the parent, adoptive parent, or legal caregiver), MSF will send them an authorisation letter to open the CDA at any CDA bank branch. They will need to provide the original authorisation letter, their NRIC or passport, and a copy of the child’s birth certificate or certificate of Singaporean citizenship (whichever is applicable).
During this entire period, the status of your application will likely read ‘in progress’ – do not worry about that, as it is normal! You may need to go online to accept a form (e.g. if you nominated your spouse as the CDA trustee, they will need to log in and accept the terms and conditions), or there may be a wait (e.g. for foreign third parties waiting for the authorisation letter from MSF).
The NETS card will then be sent to the CDA trustee’s registered address after opening, whether they are the parent or third party.
Do note that there are no limits to the number of accounts per family – every eligible child is entitled to one, and they can be further shared with siblings as well.
Both the nominated bank account holder and the CDA trustee can be changed later (as long as both parents agree to do so) via Baby Bonus Online. As it happens, only existing bank account holders or CDA trustees can request the change; as such, if there are situations that arise in which they disagree, MSF may not be able to grant the change request.
The Child Development Account is a bank account and, unlike CPF, is directly under the purview of the bank you have opened it under – DBS, UOB, or OCBC. Any notifications that come regarding your CDA will generally need to go through the bank.