A Look Back At Singapore Budget 2020 Highlights

Geralyne Ong

Geralyne Ong

Last updated 08 February, 2021

Before the Singapore Budget 2021 is announced on 16 February, here’s a quick summary of the key highlights from 2020.

In 2020, one of the most generous budgets was announced, focusing on cushioning Singaporeans and businesses from the economic impact of COVID-19.

This came in various forms that included direct cash payouts, special support grants, U-Save rebates, SkillsFuture top-ups, increased subsidies for businesses, wage offsets for hiring seniors and more.

Here’s a quick summary of the key highlights announced during the Singapore Budget 2020. 

Singapore Budget 2020 Summary

1. Unity, Resilience, Solidarity and Fortitude Budgets were created to cushion the impact of COVID-19

A total of four budgets totalling nearly $100 billion were formed to provide Singaporeans with financial assistance to battle the economic effects of the pandemic. 

First announced during the main Singapore Budget 2020 telecast, The Unity Budget ($6.4 billion) helped Singaporeans and businesses weather the immediate economic uncertainties. 

A month later, the Resilience ($48.4 billion) and Solidarity ($5.1 billion) Budget were announced to provide longer-term relief to households, employees and businesses. 

The fourth and final Fortitude Budget ($33 billion) was announced on 26 May 2020. This budget was created to help employees and businesses better position themselves to seize future opportunities, and provide additional relief to households.

Tune in and subscribe to our Facebook, Instagram and Telegram channels to receive live updates of the Singapore Budget 2021 announcement on 16 February 2021. We would also be covering the event live on our blog, so be sure to bookmark it!

2. Cash handouts given to individuals

As the year progressed and the pandemic persisted, the various budgets were progressively enhanced to provide more support for Singaporeans. A few cash handouts were given in 2020 to help Singaporeans weather the economic impact of COVID-19. These included: 

  • Singaporeans aged 21 and above received special one-off payments that ranged between $300 to $900 depending on income level and property value.
  • Parents with at least 1 Singaporean child under the age of 20 received an additional payment of $300.
  • Seniors aged 50 and above received a one-off $100 PAssion card top-up that can be used on transport, groceries and other essentials. 
  • To help the lower-income families, eligible individuals living in 1- or 2-room HDB flats were given $300 in grocery vouchers in 2020, with another $100 to be meted out late-2021. 

3. Grants were given to those who had lost their jobs or were directly affected by COVID-19

Singaporeans who were retrenched, had their contracts terminated, suffered a pay cut or had been directly affected by COVID-19 were given additional financial assistance. The amount varied and depended on each individual’s financial standing and total household income.

COVID-19 Support Grant: Provided individuals who were retrenched or had their contracts terminated due to COVID-19, with a monthly cash payout of $800 over a period of 6 months (initially 3 months).

Temporary Relief Fund: Provided Singaporeans who were let go from their jobs or lost more than 30% of their monthly income due to COVID-19, a one-off $500 cash payment. 

Courage Fund: Provided lower-income families who had been directly affected by COVID-19 (e.g. a member of the household contracted the virus, which caused a minimum 10% dip in gross household income), a one-off $1,000 cash payment. 

4. More U-Save rebates

In addition to regular annual rebate amounts, eligible HDB households received a one-off GST Voucher – U-Save Special Payment and U-Save rebates for larger families that had five or more family members living in the same household. 

This is to say that an eligible family of five living in a 2-room HDB would have received a total of $1,000 in U-Save rebates to help defray their monthly utility costs. 

5. SkillsFuture account top-ups

To encourage Singaporeans who are already part of the workforce to reskill or upskill, those above the age of 25 as of 31 December 2020 received a one-off $500 SkillsFuture credit top-up.

Together with the initial credits given in 2015, each eligible Singaporean would have received a total of $1,000 in SkillsFuture credits from the government.

As the hardest hit group, mid-career employees aged between 40 to 60 received an additional $500 SkillsFuture credit top-up.

6. GST remains unchanged at 7%

The GST hike planned for 2021 was put on hold. However, with plans previously made to increase rates to 9% by 2025 and the current state of our (recovering) economy, it is only a matter of time before the hike is implemented. 

When that happens, a $6 billion Assurance Package will be introduced to cushion the impact. Rebates equivalent to five years worth of additional GST expenses incurred will be given to eligible households, with lower-income households receiving double the rebates.

Singaporeans living in 1- to 3-room HDB flats will also receive rebates equivalent to 10 years worth of additional GST expenses incurred.

7. Increased CPF and retirement support for seniors

A total of three support packages and schemes for seniors were announced during last year’s budget.

Senior Worker Support Package: Provided financial support to senior employees and their employers. 

  • Senior Employment Credit: Wage support (up to 8%) will be given to employers who hire or retain Singaporean workers aged 55 and above. 
  • CPF Transition Offset: Help employers offset half the increase in employer CPF contribution rates in 2021.
  • Senior Worker Early Adopter Grant: Companies that increase their retirement and re-employment age above the statutory minimum can receive up to $250,000 in funding support. The current retirement age stands at 63 and will increase to 68 on 1 July, 2022. 
  • Part Time Re-Employment Grant: To support companies that voluntarily offer part-time re-employment options to eligible employees aged 60 and above.

Enhanced Silver Support Scheme: Recently implemented on 1 January 2021, this scheme provides eligible seniors above the age of 65 with 20% more cash payouts. In addition, the total CPF contributions by age 55 has been expanded to $70,000 and $140,000, and household monthly income per person expanded to $1,000 to $1,800. 

Matched Retirement Support Scheme: Seniors aged 55 to 70 who have less than the Basic Retirement Sum (currently at $93,000) in their CPF accounts will benefit from this scheme. For over a period of five-years starting 2021, the government will match every dollar of cash top-ups made to the Retirement Account of eligible seniors. 

This means that eligible seniors could grow their retirement account by up to $1,200 a year ($600 from self contributions, $600 from the government). 

Tune in and subscribe to our Facebook, Instagram and Telegram channels to receive live updates of the Singapore Budget 2021 announcement on 16 February 2021. We would also be covering the event live on our blog, so be sure to bookmark it!

Read these next: 
Singapore Budget 2020: Summary And Key Highlights
Singapore Budget 2020: $800 Million For COVID-19 Recovery Package
How Will (The Extended) COVID-19 Support Grant Help You Financially?
Resilience & Solidarity Budget To Tide You Over COVID-19 Circuit Breaker
Over 400,000 Singaporeans To Benefit From CPF Matched Retirement Savings Scheme – Are You Eligible?

A lover of gin and all things Nigella Lawson, Geralyne’s constantly trying to adult like a pro. She spends most of her leisure time serving fur-babies and doing as many mountain climbers as she possibly can.


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