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The Straits Times (12 May 2023) : About 2.5 million Singaporeans to receive cost-of-living relief payments in June

12 May 2023

SINGAPORE – About 2.5 million Singaporeans will receive a special payment in June that provides relief to the cost of living for Singaporean households, as part of efforts to help them cope with inflation and cushion the impact of the higher goods and services tax rate.

They will receive up to $400 in cash under the 2023 Cost-of-Living (COL) Special Payment, with more given to lower- and middle-income groups, the Ministry of Finance said on Thursday.

Citizens who are 21 years old and above in 2023, with an annual assessable income of no more than $100,000 and who do not own more than one property, are eligible for a one-off cash payout of between $200 and $400 in June 2023. This is regardless of the type of property they live in.

Among the 2.5 million eligible Singaporeans, some 850,000 seniors will receive an additional sum of up to $300 under the 2023 COL Seniors’ Bonus for additional support.

A cash payout of between $200 and $300 will be given to all senior Singapore citizens aged 55 years and above in 2023, with an annual assessable income of no more than $34,000, whose residential address is a property with an annual value not exceeding $21,000, and who do not own more than one property.

This Seniors’ Bonus is in addition to the Assurance Package Seniors’ Bonus of up to $300 given out in February 2023.

The COL Special Payment and COL Seniors’ Bonus are one-off support measures given to Singaporeans as part ofan enhanced Assurance Package, which was announced at Budget 2023 by Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Lawrence Wong.

He also announced that the package would be topped up by $3 billion, bringing the total amount to be eventually disbursed to $9.6 billion, up from the $6.6 billion announced in 2022.

The package is expected to offset at least five years of additional GST expenses for most households, and about 10 years’ worth for lower-income households.

Among those receiving payouts will be financial consultant Jamalul’lail Adali, 60, and his family. He will be getting $550 in June, with $300 from the COL Special Payment and an additional $250 from the COL Seniors’ Bonus.

A self-employed worker who earns mostly from commissions, he welcomes such cash payouts from the Government as they provide him with extra cash for household expenditure. Mr Jamal also saved part of previous payouts.

“Normally, I spend about half and save the other half of the payment... sometimes, I save more,” said Mr Jamal, who lives in a four-room HDB flat with his wife, 58, and two sons, aged 27 and 22.

“As someone in the finance line, I treat it as personal insurance, but it is also useful for the home. The savings go into an emergency fund for future use,” he added.

Teacher Wendy Yeo, 47, said the payouts will help alleviate the cost of things like groceries, which take up a significant percentage of the household expenditure.

“We don’t eat out often as a family as my mother takes pride in cooking, and we enjoy the food that she cooks,” said Ms Yeo.

Her mother Teoh Soo Huay, 84, lives with her, her husband, 44, and their two sons, aged 13 and 10, in a two-bedroom condominium. Madam Teoh will receive $600 in total, with $400 from the COL Special Payment and an additional $200 from the COL Seniors’ Bonus.

Ms Yeo said: “My mother is grateful. She is always happy when she receives such payouts as they give her some kind of independence. Typically, she spends the money as she likes.”

Citizens can check their eligibility for the payouts at the Assurance Package official website by logging in with their Singpass.

To receive the payouts sooner, they are encouraged to link their NRIC to PayNow by May 23 if they have accounts with the 10 participating banks. When this is done, they will be able to receive their 2023 COL Special Payment and 2023 COL Seniors’ Bonus as early as June 7.

Those without PayNow-NRIC but have a valid bank account with the Central Provident Fund Board will receive their payments by June 15.

DBS Bank/POSB, OCBC Bank and UOB customers without PayNow-NRIC linked bank accounts can update their bank account information at the official Assurance Package website by June 5.

Singaporeans who usually receive their payouts from the Government via GovCash can withdraw their COL payments at OCBC ATMs islandwide using a payment reference number which will be sent to them from June 20, followed by their NRIC number. An OCBC bank account is not required to perform this transaction at OCBC ATMs.