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The Straits Times (16 Nov 2022) : About 2.5 million Singaporeans to get up to $700 in December under support packages: MOF

16 Nov 2022

Isabelle Liew

About 2.5 million Singaporeans will get up to $700 in cash in December as part of government packages to offset the impact of the goods and services tax (GST) hike and help people cope with rising costs.

The $700 comprises two separate payouts. About 2.5 million adult Singaporeans will get up to $500 in cash in December under a one-off Cost-of-Living special payment, as part of a $1.5 billion support package announced in October.

These people will also be among about 2.9 million adult Singaporeans who will get up to $200 in cash under the Assurance Package.

“This ensures that even with the current inflation situation, the Assurance Package will offset additional GST expenses for the majority of Singaporean households for at least five years, with around 10 years offset for lower-income households,” the Ministry of Finance (MOF) said in a statement on Tuesday.

The first tranche of money, which includes other benefits, will be disbursed from December 2022 to February 2023.

This follows a $1.4 billion boost to the support package, making it worth $8 billion, up from $6.6 billion previously, Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong told Parliament last week. Details will be announced in Budget 2023.

Eligible Housing Board households will receive an additional GST Voucher – U-Save of up to $95 to offset utility bills, on top of the regular U-Save rebate, in January 2023.

Every Singaporean household will receive $300 Community Development Council vouchers, which can be used at participating heartland merchants and hawkers, as well as supermarkets.

In February 2023, lower-income senior Singaporeans will get up to $300 in cash under the GSTV – Cash (Seniors’ Bonus). And eligible seniors aged 55 and above, and children aged 20 and below, will get $150 in their Central Provident Fund MediSave Account under the Assurance Package MediSave.

Citizens can check their eligibility for the cash handouts under the Assurance Package and the Cost-of-Living special payment at the Assurance Package official website by logging in with Singpass.

MOF said eligible citizens are encouraged to link their NRIC to PayNow by Nov 20 to receive the payments earlier, starting from Dec 5. The money will be disbursed on Dec 12 to those using bank crediting.

Those who have not linked their NRIC or provided their bank account details can withdraw the handouts at OCBC ATMs islandwide. An OCBC bank account is not required to withdraw the payment.

They can also use the LifeSG app to pay merchants by scanning their PayNow or Nets QR code, or transfer the payment to their bank account via PayNow, if they have subsequently linked their NRIC.

Recipients will be notified through the Singpass app or SMS after the payment has been credited to them.

To guard against scams, the SMS sent by MOF will only inform citizens of their benefits. They will not be asked to reply, click on any links, or provide information to the sender, the ministry said.

Messages will not be sent via WhatsApp or other messaging platforms.

The ministry added that people should download the Singpass app from official app stores and check that the app is developed by the Government Technology Agency, to receive notifications about payment.