Child Care Subsidy 2023: What is It & How Should I Apply?
These days, child care in Singapore can be expensive, even for dual-income households. While some might be lucky enough to call upon family members to help out, more often than not, parents have to fork out for child care, on top of the daily household expenses.
To help reduce the financial burden on Singaporean parents, the government has child care subsidies in place, on top of the Baby Bonus and Baby Support Grants. Here’s a simple breakdown to see how these can help you (or someone you know).
|Infant Care & Child Care|
|Type of Subsidy||Benefits (Per Child)||Restrictions|
|Basic Child Care Subsidy||For working mothers
Infant Care: $600 / month
Child Care: $300 / month
For non-working mothers
Infant Care: $150 / month
Child Care: $150 / month
|Child must be enrolled in ECDA-licensed centre|
|Additional Child Care Subsidy||Infant Care: Up to $710 / month
Child Care: $467 / month
Per household: $12,000
Per person: $3,000
Mothers (or single fathers) who work at least 56 hours per month
|Type of Subsidy||Benefits (Per Child)||Restrictions|
|Kindergarten Fee Assistance Scheme (KiFAS)||$17 to $161 / month||Child must be enrolled in MOE or Anchor Operator kindergarten
Per household: $12,000^
Per person: $3,000*
|Start Up Grant (SUG)||Up to $240 / year||Income ceiling
Per household: $1,900
Per person: $650
^Before CPF deduction and include bonuses, commissions, overtime pay and allowances.
*5 or more family members living in the same household (applicant's spouse will be included by default regardless of residential address) with at least 3 dependents who are not earning an income.
Infant Care and Child Care Subsidies
Basic Child Care Subsidy
The Basic Child Care Subsidy refers to the government subsidy for full-day preschool expenses for infants (2-18 months old) and children (18 months-6 years old).
The subsidy is directly given to the child’s registered centre and not to the parents’ or guardians’ bank accounts. The parent then pays the difference, ie. the fee minus the subsidy, and any other financial assistance.
Basic Child Care Subsidy rates depend on the applicant’s employment status and their child’s program type. Program type refers to whether your child is put in infant care or child care.
For working applicants, basic subsidy for full-day infant care is S$600 per month and for full-day child care, it’s S$300 per month. For non-working applicants, the basic subsidy is S$150 for both infant care and child care.
Families with children who are Singaporean citizens enrolled in infant or child care centres licensed by ECDA (Early Childhood Development Agency) are eligible to receive the Basic Child Care Subsidy.
Additional Child Care Subsidy
For families who are facing financial difficulties and need some extra help, there’s the Additional Child Care Subsidy.
The Additional Child Care Subsidy is a means-tested subsidy on top of Basic Child Care Subsidy, for lower-income families. This subsidy allows lower-income parents to afford preschool fees, so that they’ll be able to go to work without worrying about child care.
The subsidy can go up to $710 for infant care and up to $467 for child care, depending on eligibility.
There are 2 requirements to qualify for the Additional Child Care Subsidy and both need to be met. The requirements are:
The working applicant can be either a mother (single or not) or single father who works at least 56 hours per month.
Gross monthly household income of $12,000 and below or per capita income of $3,000 and below for larger families (5 or more family members in the same household with at least 3 dependents without income)
Sometimes, due to unforeseen circumstances, you might not be able to work. With special approval, higher subsidy support can be granted. This is awarded on a case-by-case basis and will require supporting documents.
If granted special approval, extra subsidies on top of the existing Basic Child Care Subsidy entitlement will be disbursed for a limited time, with the amount and duration depending on your circumstances.
Non-working applicants may apply for extra subsidy support if they are:
Not working due to looking for a job, studying, training, on a course (at least 56 hours a month), or pregnant
Medically unfit for work due to hospitalisation, long-term illness or permanent disability
Caring for sick or special needs family members
Full-time caring for younger children aged 24 months and below
Non-parent caregivers may also apply if they are caring for the child as a grandparent, legal guardian or foster parent.
Subsidies for Kindergarteners
Kindergarten Fee Assistance Scheme (KiFAS)
The Kindergarten Fee Assistance Scheme is a means-tested kindergarten fee subsidy that makes kindergarten programs more affordable and accessible to children from low-middle income families.
Like the child care subsidy, this is disbursed directly to your child’s kindergarten and you only pay the net fee after the subsidy. The net fee can be paid out of your child’s Child Development Account (CDA) balance.
The KiFAS subsidy ranges between $17 and $161, with lower-income families receiving more help.
This kindergarten subsidy is for families with children who are Singaporean citizens. The children must be enrolled in kindergartens run by Anchor Operators or the Ministry of Education.
Families with a gross monthly household income of $12,000 and below or per capita income of $3,000 and below for larger families (5 or more family members in the same household with at least 3 dependents without income) are eligible for this subsidy.
KiFAS Startup Grant (SUG)
For those who have fallen on hard times, extra help may be needed, especially with start-up costs for their children to enter kindergarten.
The KiFAS Startup Grant is a yearly grant that helps to cover the cost of enrolling your child in kindergarten. These costs include the kindergarten’s registration fee, deposit, school uniform, insurance, education material fees and supplementary fee.
This grant is capped at S$240 per year and is eligible for children who are Singaporean citizens whose family has a monthly gross household income of up to S$1,900 or gross per capita income of up to S$650.
How to Apply for Subsidies
To receive these subsidies, make sure to apply via your child’s preschool or kindergarten centre. You will be asked to produce any relevant supporting documents, which will then be forwarded to the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA).
Do ensure that your contact details are up to date as you will receive an SMS and email to confirm that the ECDA has received your application. The outcome will also be sent via text and email.
Other Ways to Finance Child Care Costs
Preparing early is essential when it comes to starting a family. This means saving up for the costs involved in having and raising children early on in the marriage.
Research the costs of child care in Singapore, tally up all the projected costs (including other household needs) and discuss with your partner how best to save up for your coming bundle(s) of joy.
You could also consider purchasing a savings plan early on, timing the maturity with when you think you’ll have a child or need a cash injection for your child.
Provide the Best for Your Child
Besides child care, there are a few other costs you might want to prepare yourself for, as parents. Healthcare is another area which can cost you, especially as young children are more vulnerable to illness or accidents.
Ensure that they are well protected with Enhanced IncomeShield, a medical and hospital insurance plan to enhance MediShield Life coverage and ensure that you have peace of mind regarding your child’s health.
Go the extra step and boost that with PA Secure, a personal accident plan which covers not only accidents, but infectious diseases as well. What’s more, PA Secure will cover your child’s child care costs if they’re unwell and you need to hire someone to look after them while you’re at work.
If you need help figuring out how to make the most of your finances to support your family’s needs, speak to our helpful advisors.