Every Singaporean Adult Will Receive Between S$200 and S$800 This Month Under the Assurance Package to Help With Rising Costs

Deborah Gan

Deborah Gan

Last updated 15 December, 2023

Plus, tips on how you can manage your finances more wisely to tide through this period of higher inflation.

Over the past few years, we've observed an uptick in the prices of essential items like groceries and food, making expense management increasingly more trying on the average Singaporean. 

Fortunately, more support has arrived for Singaporeans with the government rolling out the previously announced enhancements to the Assurance Package (AP) and permanent GST Voucher (GSTV) scheme. From December 2023, you can expect higher cash payouts, Community Development Council (CDC) Vouchers, rebates, and top-ups for you and your household.

You can find out how much you will be receiving in the coming months by visiting go.gov.sg/assurancepackage.

Table of contents:

The rising cost of living – a global phenomenon 

Most Singaporeans have probably felt the rising cost of living in one way or another. For example, your favourite chicken rice stall might have increased its price recently, or your utility bills have risen.  

Let’s compare how the average retail prices of selected consumer items have increased over the years:

2019 prices
2022 prices
Increase from 2019 to 2022 (rounded off to the nearest 1 d.p.)
Premium Thai Rice (Per 5 Kilogram)
Ordinary White Bread (Per 400 Grams)
Infant Milk Powder (Per 100 Gram)
Coffee/tea Without Milk 
(Per Cup)
Fishball Noodle 
(Per Bowl)
Chicken Rice 
(Per Plate)
Economical Rice (1 Meat & 2 Vegetables)
(Per Plate)

Source: Department of Statistics Singapore

While the mere increase in cents may appear insignificant, examining the percentage increase in prices from 2019 to 2022 may surprise you. Most items fall within around a 3% uptick spectrum, up to a staggering 13.5% for the cost of a plate of chicken rice. This excludes Premium Thai Rice, which actually dropped in price by 1.9%.

Our daily expenses may have inevitably surged, but this is not unique to Singapore; in fact, inflationary pressures are experienced worldwide.

Understanding the Assurance Package and GST Voucher scheme

Thankfully, the government has enhanced the Assurance Package (AP) and the permanent GST Voucher (GSTV) scheme, to provide financial support and relief for immediate cost of living pressures. 

Assurance Package

The Assurance Package is designed to mitigate the impact of the GST rate hike and the rising cost of living for every Singaporean, and it is on top of the permanent GSTV scheme. It consists of various components:

  • Cash
  • Seniors’ Bonuses 
  • CDC Vouchers 
  • Additional U-Save and Service & Conservancy Charges (S&CC) rebates
  • MediSave top-ups 
  • CDA, Edusave and PSEA top-ups
  • One-off support measures like the 2022 and 2023 Cost of Living (COL) Special Payments

In September 2023, the government announced the $1.1 billion Cost-of-Living Support Package, which included an S$800 million enhancement to the AP, bringing the total to over S$10 billion. This was done to provide relief for all Singaporean households, with more support for lower- to middle-income families.

This December, you will receive S$200 to S$800 from AP Cash and AP Cash Special Payment. Find out exactly how much you’re receiving by visiting the AP website.

Additionally, every Singaporean household will also be able to claim S$500 CDC vouchers in January 2024. Eligible Singaporean households and Singaporeans will also be receiving U-Save and S&CC rebates, as well as AP Seniors’ Bonus and AP MediSave in January and February 2024 respectively. 

Permanent GST Voucher scheme

Introduced in Budget 2012, the GSTV scheme was implemented to provide permanent help to lower- and middle-income Singaporean households with their GST expenses.

It consists of four components:

  • Cash — immediate needs
  • MediSave — top-ups to help seniors with medical needs
  • U-Save — quarterly rebates to offset utility bills
  • S&CC Rebate — quarterly rebates to offset S&CC bills

To find out how much you might be eligible for in the coming months, check out the Support For You Calculator.

Managing your finances more wisely

Assuming you’re:

  • A 30-year-old in 2023
  • Assessable income of S$34,000
  • Owns and lives in a 4-room flat 
  • Owns one property
  • Married and living with a 30-year-old spouse with an assessable income of S$34,000
  • Total of 2 people living in the household

According to the Support For You Calculator, this is how much you would have received in 2023:

Government scheme
Amount to receive
Disbursement period
Individual Benefits
Cash — AP 
December 2023
Cash — AP Special Payment
December 2023
Cash — COL Special Payment
June 2023
Cash — GSTV
August 2023
Spouse’s Benefits
Cash — AP 
December 2023
Cash — AP Special Payment
December 2023
Cash — COL Special Payment
June 2023
Cash — GSTV
August 2023
Household Benefits
GSTV — S&CC Rebates
2.5 months
January, April, July and October 2023
GSTV — U-Save
January, April, July and October 2023
CDC Vouchers
January 2023
S$4,500 + 2.5 months S&CC Rebate

In total, you and your spouse would have received S$4,500 in cash and rebates in just 2023 alone. And if we’re just talking about cash, you and your spouse would have each received S$1,800 this year. 

So instead of blowing it all on something material, you could channel it towards offsetting purchases of essential items or saving that cash for a rainy day by parking some of it in a high-yield savings account to let it earn interest over time.

Meanwhile, other forms of financial assistance like the U-Save rebates are meant to offset your utility bills, while the CDC Vouchers can be used to pay for purchases like your daily meals or groceries.

Stretching your dollar

The total amount you receive in payouts and rebates may be fixed, but your overall finances ultimately depend on your spending and saving habits as well. Here are some money-saving tips to stretch your dollar:

Focus on your needs with the 50-30-20 budgeting rule

As a rule of thumb, the 50-30-20 rule recommends allocating 50% of your money for needs, 30% for wants, and 20% for savings. This helps you to keep within your budget and avoid overspending on your ‘wants’.

If your take-home pay is S$3,000, you should target to only spend S$1,500 on your needs, like your food, groceries, utility bills and other necessities, while S$600 should go towards your savings. 

Choose cheaper meal alternatives

Instead of eating out at expensive restaurants all the time, switch out a S$20 meal for a S$3 one when you have the chance (yes, S$3 meals still exist!). Imagine how much you could save over a prolonged period.

Source: BudgetMealGoWhere

Pro tip: To make your hunt for cheaper food easier, the government has created a website, BudgetMealGoWhere, that allows you to locate all the affordable food options nearby — simply type in your address in the search bar and you’ll see a list of low-cost food choices. 

The results will show you the distance of the hawker centre from you, the list of dishes available and their respective prices — you’ll be surprised at how accessible some of these inexpensive food options are!

Review your open electricity market (OEM) provider every quarter

As electricity tariffs change every quarter, it might be a good idea to always review your plan and OEM provider. You never know — you might be able to secure a better plan with lower rates and help to reduce your utility expenses!

Opt for bike-sharing instead of ride-hailing services

Taking public transport over ride-hailing services is a no-brainer to cut costs on transportation. But to take it one step further, you could choose bike-sharing services instead, especially if you’re heading to somewhere relatively nearby.

Prices go as low as S$1 per 30 minutes! Compared to public transport, public transport fares could potentially cost more even if your destination is just a few stops away. (For context, even a single bus ride between two consecutive stops (~0.3km apart) can cost S$0.99!) Not only will opting for bike-sharing help you save money, but it is also a much healthier option to clock some exercise in.

By making some of these small lifestyle changes, together with the help from the various government support measures, you will be able to better manage your finances, and can effectively maximise your savings to go a long way.

This article is written in collaboration with Ministry of Finance. 

A mahjong addict with an undying love for dogs, Deborah is always on the hunt for cheap deals because she is always broke. That is why she is attempting to be more financially savvy to be.. less broke


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