In order to help parents with their financial expenses related to raising their children, a scheme was introduced by the Singapore government. It is called as the Child Development Co-Savings Scheme, it is also known as the Baby Bonus Scheme. This scheme renders financial assistance to couples who intend to have more than 1 kid. The Baby Bonus Scheme belongs to the Marriage and Parenthood Package and comprises 3 main components - Cash Gift, Baby Bonus One-Stop Service, and a Child Development Account (CDA). When you sign up for the Baby Bonus Scheme, a Child Development Account will be opened automatically. For this account, you need not make any initial deposit. It is not necessary that your account needs to have a minimum balance as well. You’ll not be charged by the bank for not having sufficient funds in your CDA. However, you should consider saving so that you get to enjoy dollar-for-dollar matching contributions from the government. CDA is a savings account that is specially meant for children. This account will help you to save for your child’s future expenses. When you open a Child Development Account, you’ll get several benefits such as dollar-for-dollar matching from the Singapore government, as well as the CDA First Step grant worth S$3,000. You’ll get a maximum of 12 years in order to save in your kid’s CDA. The government will render dollar-to-dollar matching for CDA savings in less than 2 weeks.
Why Should You Open a CDA?
- You can use your CDA savings to pay for your child’s healthcare and educational expenses at the Baby Bonus Approved Institutions (AIs) given below:
- Special education schools
- Child care centres
- Optical shops
- Centers which provide early intervention programmes
- Centers which provide assistive technology devices
- You will get dollar-for-dollar matching for your CDA savings from the government. In less than 2 weeks from saving into your CDA, you shall receive the matching contributions from the government. Take a look at the following table to see how the dollar-for-dollar matching contributions will be rendered to you based on the birth order of your children.
|The birth order of your children||CDA privileges (From the Singapore government)||Child Development Account benefits (in total)|
|Dollar-for-dollar matching||CDA first step grant|
|First and second child||Up to SGD 3,000||+||S$3,000||For each child, you’ll get up to S$6,000|
|Third and fourth child||Up to SGD 9,000||For each child, you’ll get up to S$12,000|
|Fifth child onwards||Up to SGD 15,000||For each child, you’ll get up to S$18,000|
What Can You Do With the Money in a Child Development Account
You can pay for your child’s insurance
- You can buy a Medisave Approved Integrated Shield plan for your child using your CDA savings.
- Based on the Baby Bonus Approved Institution Scheme, you can provide an Approved Institution with the authority to deduct an amount from your child’s CDA account directly to pay for a Medisave insurance policy via Interbank GIRO.
- You can pay premiums of your child's Medisave-linked Integrated Shield Plans (IPs) using the CDA funds. If your child's IP is with a Baby Bonus Approved Institution (AI), then you can even pay the premiums directly through a GIRO arrangement. The only AI in the Baby Bonus Scheme right now is the Great Eastern Life Insurance Company.
- In case you plan to buy an insurance policy from a private insurance provider, you will have to pay on your own and then seek reimbursement from the Ministry.
- You will need to send across a request form for reimbursement via email. Once your request is approved, the government will then reimburse the cash payment you’ve made by allowing deductions from your CDA.
You can pay for your child’s approved (healthcare and educational) expenses at the respective Baby Bonus Approved Institution (AI)
- Wherever applicable, you can use your CDA savings to pay for the indirect costs and primary fees that have incurred at a relevant Approved Institution your child studies at. Here Approved Institution refers to kindergartens, special education schools, child care centres, or providers of early intervention programmes.
- The type of indirect educational costs (approved) you can pay using your CDA include:
- Uniforms & attire.
- Materials with respect to bedding (does not apply for special education schools).
- Registration fee (does not apply for special education schools).
- Books and materials (does not apply for childcare centres).
- Field trips.
- Local excursions.
- Deposit (refund needs to revert to CDA). Not applicable for special education schools who don’t collect deposits.
- Assessment/exam fees (does not apply for kindergartens & childcare centres).
Quick note: Since the category of indirect costs varies from one Approved Institution to another, you’re supposed to verify the actual expenses charged to your child’s CDA with the concerned Approved Institution.
- Medical bills you’ve incurred at clinics and hospitals.
- Medisave-approved integrated shield plans insurance premiums.
- Products you’ve purchased at pharmacies such as:
- Surgical items.
- Over-the-counter medicines.
- Skin care products.
- Vitamin supplements.
- Medicines prescribed either by a pharmacist or by a medical practitioner.
- Health supplements.
- Optical shop related services, spectacles, eye care products (optical-related), and contact lens.
- The rental, purchase, repair, and maintenance of ATD (Assistive Technology Device) and other accessories, such as Braille laptops & wheelchairs, hearing aids, and qualified assessment services with respect to Assistive Technology Device (rental or purchase).
Once your kid is above 12 years of age, the unused funds in your kid’s CDA will automatically get transferred to your child’s respective Post-Secondary Education Account (PSEA). You can use the PSEA amount for your kid’s higher education. If your child has a Post-Secondary Education Account, he or she can use the funds in the PSEA account to pay either for their own or their siblings’ (wherever applicable) fees & charges for sanctioned programmes provided by the institutions that are mentioned below:
|Approved Institutions (AI)||Approved Programmes|
|6 autonomous universities
|Institute of Technical Education (ITE) Government-affiliated Special Education (SPED) schools||
|Arts Institutions (Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts and LASALLE College of the Arts)||
|SG Enable||Qualified training courses under SG Enable|
|Singapore Institute of Legal Education (SILE)||
|Private Training providers and Public agencies*||
|Government-supported Special Education (SPED) schools||Programme fees and charges in SPED schools|
Please note: *( Courses which are presented by institutions/public agencies which fall under this category will be subjected to the Ministry of Education’s approval in order to include the courses under PSEA.)
In order to pay fees at approved institutions, you can either withdraw the funds in your PSEA by initiating an SO (Standing Order) with the Ministry of Education (MOE) or by presenting an ad hoc withdrawal application form whenever a need for withdrawal arises. The application form will vary depending on which approved institution your child is studying at.
Which Banks in Singapore Offer Child Development Account?
- OCBC Bank – OCBC Child Development Account
- POSB Bank – POSB Smiley Child Development Account
- UOB Bank – UOB Child Development Account
Note: Post December 2018, the Standard Chartered Bank (Singapore) Limited (SCBSL) will discontinue managing its Child Development Accounts. In case you hold a Child Development Account in SCBSL and your kid is younger than 12 years of age, you will need to move your child’s CDA to another bank as indicated by MSF (Ministry of Social and Family Development) within 31 October 2018. You can make this change through the Baby Bonus Online Portal.
In case your child is going to be 12 years of age in the year 2018, you need not take any further action. You can use your Child Development Account with SCBSL till the 2018 year ends. Post 2018, your kid’s Child Development Account will get closed automatically closed, and the unused balance in the CDA will be moved to his or her PSEA (Post-Secondary Education Account) when he or she turns 13 years old.
In case you’re a CDA trustee who will need to change your CDA bank, you’ll be sent a notification letter from the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) reminding you about the change you need to make with respect to your CDA bank. The letter will also have guidance about how you need to proceed in order to change your CDA bank.
In case you fail to allocate your CDA to another CDA bank of your choice within 31 December 2018, the Ministry of Social and Family Development will then assign your CDA to any one of the CDA banks automatically and will notify you regarding the newly assigned CDA bank.
How to Open a Child Development Account
To open your child’s CDA you need to follow the steps given below:
- You can join the Baby Bonus Scheme via the Baby Bonus Online Portal.
- You need to sign in and acknowledge your preferred CDA’s bank (POSB, UOB, or OCBC) terms and conditions via their online portal.
- In case you’ve enrolled your child in the scheme already but a CDA has not yet been opened, you need to utilise the option “Services login” on the Baby Bonus Online Portal homepage, and choose “Opening of CDA” service in order to open the Child Development Account and comply with the terms & conditions pertaining to the preferred Child Development Account bank.
- Once you’ve accepted the terms & conditions of your preferred CDA bank online, the Child Development Account will be created in less than 3 business days.
When you’re the trustee for your child’s CDA:
If you’re the CDA trustee, then you need to sign into Baby Bonus Online (BBO) and accept the T&C for your chosen bank (UOB, DBS, OCBC) online to join the scheme. In case your child has not opened a CDA but has joined the scheme yet, then go to the BBO homepage and choose “Opening of CDA” under “Services login”, open a CDA with the chosen bank by accepting the terms and conditions.
When the trustee for your child’s CDA is your spouse:
- When you want to join the Baby Bonus Scheme, whichever parent is the CDA trustee will receive an email with a hyperlink to accept the terms & conditions of the scheme. So even if you are the one logging in to Baby Bonus Online, if it is your spouse that is the CDA trustee, he or she will get the email and not you.
- After your spouse agrees to the terms and conditions of the preferred Child Development Account bank online, the CDA will be generated automatically in less than 3 business days.
When the trustee for your child’s CDA is a third party or a foreigner:
- If you choose a foreigner or a 3rd party as your CDA’s trustee, the concerned trustee will be sent an authorisation letter from the Singapore government in order to open the Child Development Account at any of the CDA bank branches. Also, the concerned trustee will need to submit the following documents:
- The original copy of the authorisation letter.
- Passport or NRIC of the trustee.
- The child's certificate of Singapore citizenship or birth certificate copy (whichever document is applicable).