No housing or Baby Bonus for unwed mothers

I refer to the article “MSF: Unwed mothers will not get housing and Baby Bonus Cash Gift even if biological child adopted” (theonlinecitizen, May 25).

It states that “In a letter to the Straits Times Forum, Ms Yee Siaw Ling, Director of the Family Service Division from the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) clarifies that the government does not provide additional benefits to unwed mothers even if they adopt their biological children.

Emphasising that government benefits such as the Baby Bonus Cash Gift and housing benefits are tied to the parent’s marital status and will not be extended even if an unwed mother adopts her own child, as they are meant to encourage parenthood within marriage.”

Flexible on a case-by-case basis?

In this connection, the Ministry of National Development (MND) said on 15 February – “However, we recognise that our policies may not address every circumstance. Therefore, on a case-by-case basis, we do exercise flexibility to help single parents, including single unwed parents, with their housing needs.”

80% rejected?

However, about two months later, in a parliamentary reply (4 April) – “From 2014 to 2016, about 100 single unwed parents under the age of 35 appealed to buy a flat with their children and without other family members.

Over the same period, about 300 single unwed parents under the age of 35 appealed to rent a flat from HDB with their children.

For both types of appeals, HDB approved about one-fifth of the cases.

The remainder could continue living with their parents, could afford other housing options or were already co-owners of a flat.”

Got parent – reject?

Does it mean that as long as you have a parent(s) – no matter how small the flat or how many people are living in it – you may likely be rejected?

What is “could afford other housing options”?

What is the criteria to determine whether you “could afford other housing options”?

Is being only able to afford to rent a room in the open market, considered as “could afford”?

In this connection, in my volunteering on financial counselling in the last 15 years or so – I have come across single mothers whose net monthly income (excluding employee CPF contribution) were less than $1,600, who were rejected.

Does it mean that if you are the c-owner of a flat, regardless of the percentage of ownership- such as because your name was included due to your parents’ inability to service the monthly mortgage or qualify for the housing loan; or you were included because your parent was a single parent; or in order to form a family nucleus for eligibility purposes, etc – you may likely be rejected?

What about unwed over 35 & wed single mothers?

Since the statistics of 400 appeals are from unwed single mothers below age 35 – what is the number for unwed single mothers age 35 and older, and wed single mothers in total, and their rejection rates?


Leong Sze Hian
A.S.S. Contributor

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