SINGAPORE (The Straits Times/ANN)- About 1.4 million Singaporeans will benefit from $570 million in goods and services tax (GST) vouchers in August, in the form of cash payouts and Medisave top-ups.
Eligible Singaporeans will receive text messages or letters to inform them of their benefits by July 3, the Ministry of Finance (MOF) said on Wednesday (July 1).
Around 1.4 million Singaporeans will receive cash payouts of up to $300, credited directly into their bank accounts from Aug 1.
Those who have not provided their bank account numbers can do so at the GST Voucher website by July 22, and they will receive their payouts via bank transfer on Aug 1. The rest will receive cheques sent to their official address by Aug 17.
The MOF added that a small number of citizens qualify for the benefits of the GST Voucher scheme, but have not signed up for the government payouts in the past.
They will be invited to do so via SMS or a letter before May 31 next year.
Singaporeans aged 21 and above, whose assessable income for year of assessment 2019 did not exceed $28,000, will get $150 or $300 depending on their home's annual value as at Dec 31,2019. Those who own more than one property are not eligible for the GST vouchers.
About 545,000 Singaporeans aged 65 and above in 2020 will also receive GST vouchers in the form of Medisave top-ups of up to $450 each from Aug 1.
They will receive between $150 and $450, depending on their age and annual value of their home.
Cash payouts for GST vouchers will amount to around $410 million, while Medisave top-ups will total $160 million.
The GST Voucher scheme was introduced in 2012 to help lower- and middle-income Singaporeans offset some of their GST expenses.
The annual scheme comprises three components: cash, Medisave and U-Save.
The cash payouts help lower-income Singaporeans with their immediate needs, and are paid every August.
Similarly, the Central Provident Fund Medisave top-ups paid every August help support Singaporeans aged 65 and above with their medical needs.
The U-Save vouchers provide lower- and middle-income Housing Board households with a rebate to offset their utilities bills every January, April, July and October.
Eligible HDB households will receive double their regular U-Save vouchers this year, through a one-off special payment. Eligible households with five or more members will receive 2½ times their regular U-Save rebate in 2020.
Other benefits that Singaporeans can receive this year, as announced in last year's and this year's Budgets, include the following:
> Five-year Medisave top-up scheme: Singaporeans aged 51 and above in 2020 who do not receive Pioneer Generation or Merdeka Generation benefits will receive a Medisave top-up of $100 credited into their accounts in end-August.
> Solidarity Payment: Singaporeans aged 21 and above would have received a cash payout of $600 in April.
> Care and Support - Cash: From June, Singaporeans aged 21 and above would have received a cash payout of $900, $600, or $300 each, depending on their income and the number of properties that they own.
> Workfare Special Payment: All Singaporean workers who received Workfare Income Supplement payments for work done in 2019 will receive a cash payout of $3,000. This will be paid in two equal payments of $1,500 each, in July and October.
> Grocery Vouchers: All Singaporeans aged 21 and above, who live in one-room or two-room HDB flats and do not own more than one property, will receive grocery vouchers worth $300 in 2020 and $100 next year.
> Solidarity Utilities Credit: All households in Singapore with at least one Singaporean member will receive a one-off $100 utilities credit in their July or August utilities bill.
> Service and Conservancy Charges Rebate: Around 940,000 Singaporean HDB households will receive 1.5 to 3.5 months of rebates between April and next January, depending on their flat type. - The Straits Times/Asia News Network
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