SINGAPORE: Singaporeans will receive their first Growth Dividends on Wednesday.
This is the first of two payments, with the second to be distributed on October 1.
The handout, announced in this year's Budget, is part of the Government's move to share its surpluses with Singaporeans.
All Singaporeans, aged 21 and above, will receive the Growth Dividends.
Lower and middle-income groups, senior citizens and NSmen can expect more. The amounts range between $100 and $400.
The amount of Growth Dividends you receive depends on the following:
- The Annual Value of your home in 2007 as assessed by IRAS
- Your Assessable Income for the Year of Assessment 2007 and your age as of 31 December 2008; and
- Your NS status in 2008.
To receive the Growth Dividends, you must be a Singapore citizen, aged 21 or above in 2008 and have signed up to receive your GST Credits.
For 27-year-old Norazlina Ahmad Bohaiki, a housewife, she has been unemployed for over a year now and needs to stay home to care for her two-year-old son.
Supported by her in-laws, they all live in a four-room flat.
Ms Norazlina will receive $150 in the first payout of the Growth Dividends.
She said she would use the money to pay for her son's expenses, as well as her own.
Ms Norazlina said it was good that the Growth Dividends are handed out in stages as it allows her to save some of the money.
Ms Norazlina will get $500 in total this year - $300 from the Growth Dividends and $200 in GST Credits.
The second round of GST credits and Senior Citizens' Bonus, to be distributed on July 1 is meant to help Singaporeans cope with the impact of the GST increase from 5 percent to 7 percent last year.
All adult Singaporeans will receive GST Credits over four years.
The last payment is due in 2010.
Those who earn less or live in smaller homes will receive more GST Credits.
The amounts range from $100 to $250 a year, depending on the income earned and housing type.
Ms Norazlina's mother-in-law will get a total of $850 from the various payouts over five months.
Madam Hawa Sulaiman, Shipping Brokerage Officer, said: "It does help, more or less, although not much, but it does help."
The 62-year-old works part-time and is feeling the pinch because the entire household income is just $2,000.
Many say the Growth Dividends cash is timely with a higher cost of living today.
Mr Zainudin Nordin, MP for Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC and Mayor of Central Singapore CDC, said: "Whatever little amount we can distribute to our citizens I think it will help them to meet some of these challenges and cope with their daily living and rising costs at the moment.
"If we look at the whole spectrum of help that the government has given out to our residents, I think it is balanced. We want to see how we can give out whenever we have more, and at the same time we want to be more focused to people who need it more, especially to the lower income and needy families."
Aside from monetary help from the government, the disadvantaged are also getting aid from the community.
Mr Seng Han Thong, MP for Yio Chu Kang, said: "We're also having group supporters, well-wishers, in fact they have donated bags of rice, coffee powder and other daily necessities and we home deliver to those who receive public assistance."
The Government will hand out $865 million in Growth Dividends, benefiting some 2.4 million Singaporeans. - CNA/de