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What is the Baby Bonus Scheme, and how long does it cover my kids?
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What is the Baby Bonus Scheme, and how long does it cover my kids?

Last Updated on June 7, 2022 by Parentology

The Baby Bonus Scheme, as part of the Marriage and Parenthood Package from the Ministry of Social and Family Affairs Development, is an effort implemented since April 2001 to help parents in Singapore offset the financial difficulties of having kids. It takes the form of cash payments – first when your baby is born as a cash gift, and secondly when a Child Development Account is opened for the baby. The initial cash gift can be used to offset any immediate financial needs directly after birth, while the Child Development Account is spent with specific and sanctioned providers to deliver educational and healthcare needs for your child.

 

Basic Overview

As mentioned, there are two major aspects to the Baby Bonus Scheme. The first is the cash gift mentioned, details of which can be found here but we summarise it as follows:

  1. A cash gift of $6,000 – $10,000, depending on the child’s order of birth, will be disbursed in instalments from birth until the child turns 18 months.
  2. When you open a Child Development Account for your newborn:
    1. Another cash gift of $3,000 is provided for simply opening the account, and
    2. Any money you save in the account is co-matched by the government up to a cap (the cap depends on the child order as well). This second item is also referred to as the Child Development Co-Savings Scheme – oftentimes this name is used interchangeably with the ‘Baby Bonus’ name.

 

When Does It Start & For How Long?

Parents may pre-register to join the Baby Bonus Scheme as early as 2 months before your estimated delivery date or after your child’s birth registration. They must join the scheme before the year they turn 12, as the scheme ends then.

The Child Development Account (CDA) – on top of the additional cash gift you are provided for opening this account (once again increasing with the order of birth up to a cap), any money you save into the account is co-matched by the government until a certain amount. This CDA lasts until your child is 12, at which point it is closed and a new account, called the Post Secondary Educational Account (PSEA) is opened. A portion of any leftover amounts in the CDA is transferred over to the PSEA, and if you have not met the co-matching cap while saving under the CDA, you can continue under the PSEA until the cap is met. In this way, the government helps you save for your child’s health and education until they are eighteen.

 

Administrative Details

Most applications, details, and articles regarding this scheme can be found on Baby Bonus Online (BBO), and it is also the portal via which you will be able to view everything related to your specific account. You can use the portal to check if your child qualifies for Baby Bonus benefits, register them for the scheme, view the disbursements of the benefits (both cash gifts and co-matching), and update your or your child’s information (e.g. child order etc.). You’ll also be able to find many guides on Baby Bonus Online regarding the entire programme, and you can use the help function to contact the relevant departments for support should you need it.

BBO has also released videos on how to navigate their online platform, which can be found here under the tag #BiteSizedBabyBonus.

For additional support outside of BBO, you can also reach out to them via email or their hotline. The Baby Bonus Online email is msf_babybonus@msf.gov.sg, and this is also where you will likely send any supporting documents for specific cases. The local hotline is a little more complicated, as it is entrenched within the MSF hotline – you will first call the MSF hotline at 1800-111-2222, then say “baby bonus” when the virtual assistant prompts you. This takes you to the Baby Bonus division, at which point you will then get hotline assistance.

To reach the hotline from overseas, you will need to call a different number, which is (65) 6253 7707, and then go through the same process. The hotline runs from Mondays to Fridays (8:30 AM to 6:00 PM) and also on Saturdays (8:30 AM to 1:00 PM), all in Singapore time.

The only exceptions are generally for matters related to the account itself. Since the Child Development Accounts are managed by any one of the three banks – DBS, UOB, OCBC – any technical issues or replacement issues will need to go through the banks. For example, if you have lost your child’s Baby Bonus card, you will need to ask the bank for a replacement card, which is then pre-activated by any one of the banks for you. For any further questions related to banks, you can also approach them at their respective hotlines, as follows:

 

DBS Bank

1800 339 6666

www.dbs.com.sg

 

OCBC Bank

1800 438 6088

www.ocbc.com/babybonus

 

UOB

1800 222 2121

www.uob.com.sg

 

There are situations in which you may need to use both Baby Bonus Online as well as the bank’s services – one of those would be if your child’s name has changed. In this particular case, you would need to email the deed poll of the change or your child’s Certificate of Extract from the Registry of Births to the above email, msf_babybonus@msf.gov.sg. On top of that, you would also need to update the CDA bank of the same by bringing the same documents to the bank branch.

 

Other Things to Note

There are certain unspoken limitations regarding the Child Development Account; first and foremost is the fact that you can open the CDA for your child at any time after their birth, but that it has to be before 31 December of the year they turn twelve. In other words, if your child is born on 1 January 2010, you have to open their CDA before 31 December 2022.

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