Home >> Thoughts >> Applying for child care subsidy for freelance / self-employed working mothers

Okay.. So I am a SAHM.. But I have actually been taking up freelance jobs to have some spending money (hey, how do you think I can afford to bring MF to indoor playgrounds all the time?). I never thought about childcare subsidies, since I never thought I would be eligible.

Well, the time has come to register MF for nursery! When I saw the price list of preschools in Singapore, I was shocked by 1) how expensive it is and 2) how little is the difference in pricing for full and half day. So I decided to find out if my freelance work makes me eligible for subsidies.

To my pleasant surprise, the criteria for subsidy for working mothers is that we only need to to work 56 hours per month! No, I did not read wrongly, not 56 hours per week, it’s 56 hours per month (I read and re-read many times). So I qualify after all!! How difficult is it to clock 56 hours of work a month? I just need to take up a few more assignments, which is easy if I put MF in full day child care.

So I happily went to register MF for child care… And was told that for freelance workers like me, I need to go to the Supreme Court to declare my working hours before I can apply for the subsidy.

OKAY… I tried to google for more details how exactly this is done but can’t find much info.. I wanted to be sure of the procudures and fees involved, so that i don’t make a futile trip down to the Supreme Court.. I called up MCYS, they redirected me to Supreme Court, who redirected my call to the Commission of Oaths, who redirected my call to voice mail. -_-

So I decided to just go down to the Supreme Court. Thankfully, the lady at the information counter knew exactly what I wanted. The whole process was really easy peasy.. Here it how it goes.

Making Statutory Declaration at Supreme Court

1) Go to Supreme Court (the one near City Hall MRT, NOT subordinate court near Chinatown.. I almost went to the wrong one, lucky I googled for directions.)

2) Go to the Commissioner of Oaths office located at level 3M.

3) Tell them you want to declare your working hours for applying childcare subsidy.  The staff there deal with this day in day out, so don’t worry, they know what you want.  They will give you a Statutory Declaration form for this purpose and you just fill that in.

4) Pay the fee of $20 $25.

5) Go to the office as directed, take an oath in the office and sign the form in front of the lawyer and you’re done!

Easy peasy! When you register your kiddo for childcare, just remember to bring along this form. 🙂

Making Statutory Declaration at ECDA (NO LONGER AVAILABLE)

Update (May 2016): ECDA has ceased issuing statutory declaration as of 2 May 2016.  You will need to go back to Supreme Court to make the statutory declaration now.

Since the writing of the above post, I have been to the Supreme Court 2 times (I think) to make the statutory declaration because MF’s school required a new one from time to time.   But when it was time to make the statutory declaration at the start of this year, they told me to go to ECDA office at 51 Cuppage Road instead.

So just to be absolutely sure, I called up ECDA office and they said yes, you can go to ECDA office to do the declaration FOR FREE.  When I asked them if I could still do the statutory declaration at Supreme Court, they said yes you can, but if you go there you need to pay $20.  Which is why I am still keeping the above information for going to Supreme Court in the post.  For those with $20 to spare but no time to waste.

Okay! So here is how you make your statutory declaration at ECDA for the purpose of applying for childcare subsidy if you are self-employed.

The place to go is:

ECDA Office
51 Cuppage Road, #08-01, 229469

If you have no idea where 51 Cuppage Road is, it is the old Starhub Centre just behind The Centrepoint at Orchard.  Know where it is now? Okay, if you are still unsure, click here for Google Map location.

Hours for making statutory declaration:

10am to 12noon and 2pm to 4pm
Mondays to Fridays (except public holidays)

No appointment is required, you can just go there during the above hours.

Procedure (if there was one)

I reached at exactly 2pm.  There were these signs outside the ECDA office asking me to call the officer in charge for statutory declaration.  So of course I called the number of the officer yah? But nobody picked up.  So I decided to try again 15 minutes later and went for a walk in the meantime.

When I came back at 2.15pm, there were like 5 people standing outside the ECDA office holding statutory declaration forms!  So I asked one of them and she said a lady came out to give them the forms and they were waiting for their turns.

Now, there was no queue or number system there.  It kind of worked based on the assumption that everyone standing around knew who came before them, which was not possible? I mean… When I came, there were 5 people before me holding forms and bunch of other people who were family members and companions of the 5 people.  How would I know who was the person who came just before me?? So unless the 2nd person remembered the 1st, the 3rd person remembered the first 2, the 4th person remembered the first 3 etc etc, you would expect that things were not going to go as smoothly as ‘first-come-first-serve’.  Because frankly after waiting for 30 minutes, I couldn’t remember any of the faces of the people who were there when I arrived.

Okay, forgive my ranting.  MORAL OF THE STORY!!! If you arrive at 2pm, just hang around, don’t walk away.  You can try calling that number, maybe you will have better luck than me and the officer will actually pick up, but don’t count on it.   So you just stand there and memorise the faces of everyone else hanging around so that you don’t cut their queue.

Eventually, someone will come out to dish out the statutory declaration forms and ask you to go in one by one.  Each time someone comes out, the officer will ask, “Who is next?” If you are pretty sure all the people who came before you have gone in already, say “Me Me!” Just make sure nobody who came after you says “Me!”. When that happens, say “No way! You came after me!” and go make your declaration.

Right, hope you enjoyed my very lor-sor guide to making statutory declarations for free! Now let me use the $20 I saved to enjoy a nice brunch from Lady M across the road.

the author

Supposed to be a stay-home mom, but hates staying home. Definition of parenting is bringing the boys out for 'experiential learning' in Singapore, Japan and wherever else in the world her husband can afford to pay for.

88Comments

  1. girlflyday says:

    Hi there, do they ask for any type of supporting documents? Or just straight fwd, fill form, no questions asked, sign and pay and done?

  2. ferunk says:

    Thanks so much for this! Was looking all over MSF website and couldn’t find the information either! Really helpful 🙂 Will head down to Supreme Court this week.

    • bumblebeemum says:

      Glad that you find this useful. Just an additional point to note, the declaration needs to be done just before you enrol your child in the childcare centre. MF is starting school in July this year and I was told I can’t use the declaration I did last year. The supervisor told me to go and do the declaration again in June just before MF starts school. Sigh.. Wasted my time and money the first time round. 🙁

  3. Ummi Marsha says:

    Hi Bumble Bee Mum!
    Thank you so much for the info. I am so happy to stumbled upon your blog! Will be heading to the Supreme Court soon! Thanks dear! 🙂

  4. Your post is a life-saver! I’ve also been routed all over the place by MSF but not told abt the Supreme Court thingy! Will go do that 🙂

    I do freelance design n handicraft for sale from home. Income can be zero some months. How do you calculate the hours and income? Can advise? Thanks so much!

    • bumblebeemum says:

      I used the average over the year. Since each year we have to file income taxes, I just took my total income for the year and divided by 12 and declared that as my average monthly income. Same for working hours.

  5. Flo Chin says:

    Really good info! To be eligible for working mother childcare subsidy, we just need to do this? Do we require any other documents to be eligible? I’ve been doing online business since late last year and my toddler just enter childcare this month. Was disappointed to realise that non-working mothers are not eligible for additional subsidy as well. This will be very helpful as I certainly work more than 56hours/month.

    • Flo Chin says:

      I have submitted everything to the CC for working mum subsidy. Thanks so much for your help and I don’t need your reply now.

  6. ValC says:

    Thanks for sharing. I need to ask a couple of questions. Im starting to do a online biz this month. Not quite sure of the income and hrs of work. My gal will be starting sch in Aug this year. Based on your sharing, I should take the oath asap, and submit to the school before Aug. Also, for the oath, do we need to declare what kind of biz we are in, and also if the biz need to be registered?

    Sorry for the long qns as I cnt seem to find much info in any govt webpage. Thanks.

    • bumblebeemum says:

      Hi, yes, you need to take an oath in July if your girl is starting school in Aug, just before your girl starts school. You need to declare the nature of your work, but the business need not be registered.

  7. Confused mum says:

    Hi, this post is really useful. Thank you very much but I have some doubts for my case. If lets say I’m currently taking insurance course and will probably only start the job 2 mths ltr upon clearing all the papers, can I still enrol my child into childcare first by taking the oath? I quieted my job last year and this yr so far is zero income.

    Thank you in advance for your advise.

    • bumblebeemum says:

      If you are going to be working with an insurance company, it is easier for you to apply for childcare subsidy as an employee of the company. Just get a letter from the company to certify that you are working for them. I’m not sure if you are eligible for subsidy while you are taking the course since that is not considered working, is it? You can call MCYS to double-check.

  8. […] I went about researching online and realized to claim the subsidy, I’ll need to first declare my status as […]

  9. sy says:

    Hi,
    Thank you so much for your useful info. My child is going to childcare in January 2014. That means I need to go to the Supreme Court to do the declaration by this month? I’m doing some online surveys and some direct selling of health products and do not paying any tax for these. also not contribution to my CPF account. Is it ok?

    Thanks in advance for your advice

    • bumblebeemum says:

      Yes, you will need to pop down to Supreme court to do the declaration this month. As far as i know, you only need to meet the required number of working hours, it is not related to pay or income tax or cpf contributions.

  10. Careleen Toh says:

    Hi bumblebeemum…its really a great share. Just to reconfirm, meaning if im having a online business but not registered company, as long as I go to Supreme court and make the declaration together wz oath, that’s all? No supporting documents required?

  11. carol says:

    Hi bumblebeemum, I got retrenched and I am thinking of doing personal equity trading at home. The time spent on monitoring shares, analysing financial reports etc each month will definitely be over 56 hours. Can I also declare, is this considered work? income will be unstable too..

  12. Ivna says:

    Hi bumblebeemum, can I check do you declared every year since 2012?

  13. Esther says:

    thanks so much for sharing this info! Just to clarify if my child will start childcare in Jan 2015 but I have to enrol/register him this month (cos of limited spaces), when does the Supreme Court declaration need to be done? All documents are submitted at time of registration (this month) including working mother subsidy application – which will require the declaration? Or declaration can be done in Dec and apply for subsidy in Dec? Thanks in advance!

    • bumblebeemum says:

      Hi, perhaps you can check with your child’s centre. For my centre, it’s to be submitted before enrolment. for my child’s centre, during registration they asked for all the documents but don’t actually process it until the child is going to be enrolled. But just check with your centre in case they do things differently.

  14. Claire says:

    Hi,
    can I check with you for online biz that is not registered and no cpf contribution, will i be eligible for working mother subsidy?
    How will I know if application is successful? Don’t want to have a situation where child is enrolled but have to pay full fees instead. Many thanks!

    • bumblebeemum says:

      Hi, I apologize for only replying now. I just shifted my blog out of wordpress.com to my personal domain and this comment only appeared after I did that! From what I understand, childcare subsidy is solely based on working hours (at least 56 hours per month) and not dependent on income. So as long as you declare yourself to be working at least 56 hours per month, you should be eligible for childcare subsidy.

  15. sim says:

    Hi dear, any idea how you declare the salary for self employed? do you need to provide last 2 years Of iras if you did not have a company being registered?

  16. sim says:

    Thanks dear and do you know if.we should submit original or photocopy of the statutory declaration form to the childcare?

  17. freelancer says:

    hello, what site do you recommend for freelancing? I was looking at options, I’ve seen this site:
    -> freelance

    • bumblebeemum says:

      Hmmm… I have never used any websites for freelancing. Because I freelance as a writer, I am in direct contact with publishers and they email me when they have assignments.

  18. halleysc says:

    can’t help but reiterate… very useful info. thanks!

  19. Elaine says:

    Hi, so I dont have to call in to make an appointment before hand or what nots? Just go?

  20. Josephine says:

    Hi! Finally found your site and I’ve been scratching my head on how to go abt applying for susidy. Is there an online form that we can retrieve from and fill up before going there?
    Just to be sure. So, should I now go to Supreme Court or should I go to the one at Cuppage?

  21. Adele Chua says:

    Hi there! Tks so much for the info. May I ask do we need to submit any supporting documents to the school other than the statutory declaration? Tks a lot

  22. Jas says:

    Thank you for all the infos!!! I have company(MIL business) under my name. That mean i can declare under self employed? However, my salary is based on yearly profit.. which means I dont really have a monthly income. Job wise, its home based, work when needed. So do you think I am still qualify for the subsidy as well? Company dont contribute cpf for me as well…

    This article is really helpful.. Thanks again…

    • bumblebeemum says:

      For monthly salary, I think you can put average based on last declared annual income. So like now we are doing e-filing right? I just took the total income divide by 12.

      As long as you work for 52 hours a month, you will be eligible. Work from home also counts. CPF is a different matter. Since we are considered self-employed, we are required contribute our own CPF each year.

      • Jas says:

        Thanks for taking time to reply. As for cpf contribution, is it voluntary? I never thought of contributing leh.. =.=” this year the company gave me 8k as director fees.. so any idea I need to contribute?

        • bumblebeemum says:

          Medisave contribution is compulsory. When your income tax comes, they will send a letter to let you know how much you need to contribute to your Medisave. You just go to the AXS machine to make the contribution.

  23. Vanessa says:

    Just to check if I’m giving tuition part time, 56hrs per mth, how to declare on the forms?

    • bumblebeemum says:

      There are fields in the form to fill in. When you get the form and ECDA, just fill in all the fields. The commissioner of oaths can advise you on the spot if you have any problems.

  24. Wendy says:

    ECDA has ceased the Statutory Declaration service as of 2 May 2016. 🙁

    We have to go to the Supreme Court (again…)

  25. Mira says:

    Hi…i was once a normal working mom workibg 9 to 6pm kind of work and recently just resigned in May 2016. My toddler currently in child care and i have not declare anything to his CC. The teachers do not know im already not working. But now i just started my online business early this year and i was just wondering if i must go to the supreme court now and declare or wait till end year for nex year registration?..thanks for your help!

  26. FJ says:

    Hi there. Really glad to see your post. Just to check with you. As freelancers, are we required to actually declare our income for tax purposes? I’ve just started doing freelance design jobs this year. Will I still be able to apply for the working mother subsidy? Will I then need to declare my income during tax assessment period?

    • bumblebeemum says:

      Yup, we have to declare our income for tax purposes. As long as you work 56 or more hours per month (freelance work included), you can apply for working mother subsidy. You just have to make the declaration and submit it to your kid’s childcare centre. Then when it comes to tax filing period, you will have to do your e-filing on IRAS to declare your income.

  27. C says:

    I wish i have chanced upon this post earlier. I kept mom about my retrenchment for months, while i do online biz, tuition & odd jobs. When the annual employment status declaration form is found inside my kid’s bag, i went sleepless. The cc principal suggested i used this approach else ecda might need me to backpay $300 monthly ($2.7k for 9 months) subsidies. I just hope that my submission will get approved successfully. I just went down to the Supreme Court and pay $25. Thanks for sharing this important information for all “not the norm” working moms 🙂

    • bumblebeemum says:

      Haha.. I like the way you put it. ‘Not the norm’ working moms. As long as you fulfill the minimum working hours and have been receiving income for the work you do, it shouldn’t be a problem.

    • V says:

      Hi C,

      I am also trying to make a statutory declaration for running an online shop. Do I need to register my online shop to qualify? So do I just walk into Supreme Court 3M and tell them I need to make a statutory declaration for my online shop which is not registered?

      • bumblebeemum says:

        I don’t think your business needs to be registered. You are making a statutory declaration that you are working at least 56 hours a month, not a declaration for your online shop (am I making sense?). If you are in doubt, just call ECDA, explain to them what you do and they will be able to advise you on whether you can apply for working mom subsidies and if so, how you can make the declaration:
        https://www.ecda.gov.sg/pages/contactus.aspx

        • V says:

          Hi BumblebeeMum, thank you for the sharing. I managed to go down to Supreme Court and got the oath done. It was not as intimidating as I thought it would be. They have different types of forms for us to full in depending on the kind of business or job we are doing. I’m glad I chanced upon your sharing.

          • bumblebeemum says:

            Yeah, the people at Supreme Court do this day-in day-out, I’m sure they will be able to help all the working moms out there get sorted out, regardless of the kind of job we do. Which reminds me.. I need to get my declaration done soon too. *gasp*

          • Lola says:

            Hi V, so did you register your online biz before heading down to the supreme court? I run an online business too (home-based) and is also in the same situation. Hope you could enlighten me Thank you!!

  28. Lola says:

    Thank you bumblebee mum for this post. it is certainly very helpful!

  29. Aqilah says:

    Is it still 56hours per month?

  30. Linda says:

    Dear mummies, pls note

    With effect from 2 May 16, ECDA will discontinue the Statutory Declaration service at our office. Applicants who wish to make a Statutory Declaration to proceed to the Commissioner for Oaths Office at the Supreme Court or approach other Commissioners for Oaths in Singapore (http://www.conp.sg/co-np-directory-listing​).

  31. J says:

    Hi just to check with you, do u need to go to the Supreme Court every yr to take the oath if status remains the same? My cc mgr say no need and I got a letter from ecda that they relooking at the subsidy

  32. Katharine says:

    Thanks bumblebeemum for your post n tips! I so need this as I just resigned from my job last month and I was so clueless on how to go about doing this for my boy’s childcare subsidy.

    Yes. ECDA office do not take the statutory declarations anymore. Other readers, do not go there. Do head over to the Supreme Court Level 3. This morning I just went to ECDA cos I misread the whole information in this blogpost. 😅

    And just to help update, it’s payment of S$25 now. 🙂

    Bumblebeemum, I guess it’s better to write a updated new post about this info so other new Part-time working mummies or Freelancers can benefit from this. 🙂

    Thanks again!

    • bumblebeemum says:

      Oh dear… SO SORRY for the wasted trip! Okok, I edited the post so that hopefully it is clearer now that ECDA doesn’t do statutory declarations anymore. (I’m not deleting it just in case they decide to bring it back. Haha… *keep wishing*)

      It’s $25 now?? Sad…

      • Katharine says:

        No worries! haha.. I also ‘selected reading’ that’s why. Anyway, the officer at the Supreme Court told me that perhaps they won’t be providing this service soon anymore. Not confirmed as yet, but I think just to heads up. So yes, this procedure may change again. Oh well. haha! As of now, Supreme Court.

        Yes it’s $25 now.. :/

        Anyway I’m really glad to have found your post! Thank you for the much-needed advice 🙂

  33. Y says:

    Hi bumblebee mum, do they need documents to support and prove that you are indeed working more than 56 hours per month?

    • Viv says:

      If you are applying under tuition, they have a form for you to fill in your students name, birth certificate number,parents contact and hydration of tuition.

      • bumblebeemum says:

        Ah.. They are getting really strict about this! Thank you for sharing.

      • Y says:

        I’m applying under enrichment courses and other freelance jobs that can’t really justify my working hours.

        • bumblebeemum says:

          The last time I did the declaration (beginning of this year) as a freelancer, they didn’t ask me for proof of working hours because there’s really no proof for the jobs I do. I think a lot of freelance jobs are like that. For e.g. If we run enrichment courses, we may spend many hours on lesson planning and preparing course materials, so our hours are not just the hours we spend teaching the courses. Or if we are freelance photographers, our hours are not just the hours we spent taking the photos but the many hours we spend on the computer edition the photos too. I think as long as we are really spending those hours working and earning some money (which we declare on IRAS each year), and we are able to explain our hours when asked if we are ever audited, then it’s fine.

    • bumblebeemum says:

      So far I have never been asked for documents to support that I work for more than 56 hours.

      • Y says:

        Thank you.

        How about documents for additional subsidies for childcare?

        Because previously when I was working under a company, i had to submit my cpf statements to get additional subsidies. I’m quite new to this self-employed status and realised that I can’t find much information about that.

        • bumblebeemum says:

          For me, the childcare centre applied it for me when my first child just started childcare. I didn’t think of applying for additional subsidies actually, I only applied for the basic $300 subsidy per month. But the childcare centre supervisor just said that she would try to see if she could help me get extra childcare subsidy based on the number of dependables in the family and our household income. She gave me a form to fill in and I don’t remember submitting anything besides that form. For a while, we managed to get some extra subsidies. But after some times, we stopped getting them, I suspect we may have crossed the income ceiling along the way. It was many years back and since then I haven’t bothered trying to get any additional subsidy so not sure how’s the system now. But I would suggest you check with your childcare centre’s supervisor, they should know best.

          • Y says:

            Ah.. I see! Thank you so much for your response and replies! Really appreciate them as well as this blog post! Will check with the centre’s personnel! Thank you once again!

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