Single Parent Financial Assistance – Being a parent and raising a family can be one of the greatest blessings a person can experience, but it also comes with its own set of challenges. These problems are especially compounded when it comes to single mothers in Singapore.
This article outlines 4 legal hurdles facing single mothers in Singapore and offers tips on how to overcome them.
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Before we get into these differences, it’s important to note that there are at least 3 categories of single mothers:
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It’s important to keep these categories in mind because the rights (and challenges) of being a mother can depend on which category you fall into.
This infographic summarizes the legal hurdles that single mothers in Singapore can face, but can overcome. You can click to download it in a new tab.
1. Barriers to public housing Unmarried single mothers under the age of 35 cannot buy HDB flats.
One of the biggest hurdles an unmarried single mother faces is accessing public housing in Singapore. This is because the housing policy implemented by the Housing and Development Board (HDB) currently features schemes that encourage Singaporeans to marry before having children.
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Under the HDB public scheme, to be eligible for a bespoke HDB flat, one must form a family nucleus as follows:
As single mothers without children are not recognized as family centers, they cannot purchase new HDB flats under the government scheme. As a result, if you are an unmarried single mother, you will be eligible to buy a resale flat under the scheme only after you reach the age of 35.
If you are divorced or single and widowed with at least one child under the age of 18, you will be eligible for the Second Term (Assistance) scheme, where pre-existing 2-bedroom and 3-bedroom flats are equal. Allowances are made to ensure a more equitable transition of housing after your divorce (if applicable).
Divorced people can also get subsidized housing after the divorce if they meet the eligibility requirements.
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The Parents’ Temporary Housing Scheme (PPHS) is also available for divorced or widowed mothers who have applied for BTO flats but are waiting for their flats to run out and have no other housing options. Under this scheme, divorced or widowed mothers and their children can rent the flat for up to 3 years until the BTO flat is ready.
HDB also allocates shared rental flats for widows and divorced parents whose gross income does not exceed $1,500.
However, it can be very difficult to qualify for this scheme, because in reality, if you have two or more children, $1,500 may not be enough to support the family, and even that amount is higher income that disqualifies you. For public rental housing.
This applies only to divorced or widowed mothers. If you are an unmarried single mother, you must first apply to your parents to participate in the government tenancy scheme.
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Another important consideration for every mother is how to make money. The potential financial hurdles for parents begin during pregnancy, and costs increase as the baby grows.
While all single mothers in Singapore are entitled to maternity leave, regardless of nationality, there is a 4-week difference in the amount of leave they receive depending on their children’s citizenship status.
If the child is a Singapore citizen, single mothers are eligible for the Government Paid Maternity Leave (GPML) scheme, which allows up to 16 weeks of paid maternity leave if the following criteria are met:
If the child is not a Singapore citizen, single mothers may be entitled to 12 weeks of maternity leave instead of 16 weeks. However, they are covered by the Employment Act (EA) if they have worked for their employer for 3 consecutive months before giving birth.
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The employer will also pay the first 8 weeks of maternity leave if the mother does not have 2 children at the time of birth and gives the necessary instructions to the employer 1 week before going on maternity leave. The last 4 weeks of maternity leave are unfortunately unpaid, unless the employment contract states otherwise.
Single mothers are not eligible for the one-time increased Bonus cash award, which can be $8,000 for a first or second child or $10,000 for subsequent children.
Although single mothers are not entitled to the enhanced child bonus, they are entitled to two other child bonuses:
It is important to note that any mother, whether married or single, can use Child Benefit for approved expenses such as children’s education and health care expenses.
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Although the policy must directly benefit the child, this means that single mothers cannot use child benefit for other household expenses, even if such expenses are for the benefit of the child. As a result, there may be limits to what single mothers can do to make ends meet.
3. Obstacles to Inheritance Children of unmarried single mothers must have a will or legitimate children to inherit.
In Singapore, there are some hard truths about having children out of wedlock, such as the right of a child to inherit from unmarried parents.
In a deed of intestate succession, for the purpose of inheritance, a child is legitimate (born in a valid marriage) or legally adopted.
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As a result, children of unmarried single mothers without the mother making a valid will are not entitled to a share of their mother’s inheritance if they have legitimate children. Because his legitimate children will inherit more than his illegitimate children.
Illegitimate children will have inherited status if the mother adopts the illegitimate child or marries the child’s other biological parent to legitimize the child. In this regard, mothers with children born out of wedlock (such as unmarried single mothers) are advised to prepare a valid will to ensure the child’s inheritance rights should something bad happen in the future.
In Singapore, every parent has a legally binding duty to support or care for their child up to the age of 21. But single mothers or married mothers in the divorce process face additional challenges when their partners refuse to take on this responsibility.
In this case, the single mother can file a petition for child support against the other parent, and the court can award the child support payments as monthly payments or in a lump sum.
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On the other hand, divorced parents can agree on the support and distribution of children affected by the divorce process. It should be noted that courts review these agreements and will not refuse to approve an agreement that leaves a child with insufficient support.
If the other parent does not comply with the court order, the single mother can apply to the family courts to enforce the order.
If you are a single mother, there are resources to help you continue raising a family in Singapore. First, the Women’s Association (AVARE) has a free legal clinic that can provide legal assistance to single mothers. AWARE can also assist with other personal matters related to raising a family in Singapore.
The Singapore Council of Women’s Organizations (SCWO) can also provide parenting skills to help new single mothers overcome financial and related barriers.
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When facing the challenges of being a single mother, it is best to contact one of our lawyers for legal advice. Single mother advocacy groups in Singapore, with the right support, the challenges of raising a family as a single mother need not be overwhelming.
Hannah Kayla Garcia (JD) holds a Master of Public Policy (majoring in politics and international affairs) from the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy (LKYSPP), National University of Singapore. He was also a presenter at the 49th St. Gallen Symposium in Switzerland yesterday, where he qualified with an essay on creating a rights-based business model for investment.
The information provided is not legal advice. You should seek specific legal advice from an attorney before taking legal action. However, we do our best to ensure the accuracy of the information