Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Childcare subsidies: Larger families can get more help

WE AGREE with Mr Alan Ong ("More benefit with multi-tier approach"; last Friday) and Madam Chen Shi Ning ("Consider number of kids, not just household income"; last Friday) that larger families with more dependants may need more help with the costs of infant and child care.

Larger families may wish to have their subsidies assessed on a per capita income basis.

Those with incomes exceeding $7,500 may still qualify for the additional subsidy if their per capita income is $1,875 or less.

More information on the subsidy amounts based on per capita income can be found on our website at

Madam Chen also asked how a change in income might affect eligibility for the additional subsidy.

We will re-assess household incomes every two years to minimise the disruption to families from frequent changes to subsidy amounts due to changes in income.

Those families that wish to have their subsidy amounts reviewed can apply to have their incomes re-assessed at any time.

Musa Fazal
Director, Child Care Division
Ministry of Social and Family Development
ST Forum, 29 Jan 2013

More benefit with multi-tier approach

WHILE government efforts to address childcare costs are commendable, I am disappointed that the benchmark of $7,500 monthly household income has been used as an eligibility criterion ("New childcare subsidies will slash costs for families"; yesterday).

A household with three or four children, with a monthly income of $10,000, may not be better off than one with a single child and a monthly income of $7,000.

The Government should consider a multi-tier approach, giving higher subsidies to those below the $7,500 bracket, and lower subsidies to those above it.

Another thing to note is that more couples are getting hitched at an older age.

Their combined incomes are more likely to exceed $7,500 by the time they decide to have children, which means they would not qualify for the additional childcare subsidies.

The rising cost of bringing up children affects everyone, and is probably one of the key considerations affecting a couple's decision to have more babies.

Realistically, childcare costs will keep rising going forward, so if we really want to motivate couples to procreate, we should ensure that no one gets left behind.

Alan Ong
ST Forum, 25 Jan 2013

Consider number of kids, not just household income

MY HOUSEHOLD has a gross monthly income of $10,000. I have three young children enrolled in full-day childcare programmes.

On top of that, I have to engage a maid to help out so I can continue to work. I also have to take care of my retired parents.

Are my expenses lower than those of a household whose monthly income is below $7,500 but has only one child and no maid?

Dual-income families earning up to $10,000 a month have become increasingly common. So it may be time to revise our definition of a middle-class household.

If a person is jobless at the time the additional childcare subsidies kick in, but finds a job three months later such that his household income rises above the $7,500 ceiling, would he still enjoy the increased subsidies? How often will a household's income be reviewed?

Chen Shi Ning (Madam)

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