We often have to access countless government websites in our lives.
Like any Singaporean, I file my income tax on the IRAS platform, check my CPF balance on the CPF website, apply for a new passport on the ICA website and access available grants and government schemes on the Gov.sg website.
The list goes on, but if there is a platform that can house everything under one roof, wouldn’t that be ideal?
The “LifeSG” app, previously “Moments of Life”, is a Smart Nation initiative to provide a one-stop, convenient platform for citizens to access personalised government services and information integral to life in Singapore.
The interesting thing about this app is that citizens, essentially the users of the app, play a co-creating role as their feedback goes towards improving the app.
I further learnt that the app has been downloaded more than 165,000 times and it cemented in me that I have been missing out a lot.
The “LifeSG” app now comes with an improved user interface and new features.
What Exactly Is The “LifeSG” App?
First launched in June 2018, the now “LifeSG” app was conceptualised by the Singapore government to support families with young children below six years old.
A young parent looking to register a new birth and apply for a baby bonus can do that on the app, rather than seek out multiple ministries.
A fresh graduate searching for a job can get quick access to various job portals and career support resources for career coaching programmes done through various government agencies like Workforce Singapore (WSG), e2i or appointed partners.
In September 2019, features for seniors were launched. A senior citizen can find different events, courses and workshops catering to the elderly in a single portal that integrates information from different agencies such as the Health Promotion Board (HPB) and the People’s Association (PA).
Subsequently in June 2020, the Employment Support Guides were made available.
A seasoned worker looking for a mid-career switch can utilise resources within the app to find out how to claim their SkillsFuture credit and explore courses from over 32 different sectors to improve their employability skills for job hunting or find out how to receive support from programmes before moving into new grounds.
It helps that when seniors — who are not the most tech-savvy — log in to the “LifeSG” app, they can easily navigate a page that displays details about the various activities relevant to them.
Simplifying Our Day-To-Day Lives
I find the app very useful as a young working adult. Now in my late-20s, I am mostly concerned about building my CPF, paying my due income taxes, staying fit and saving up for a future home.
The app proves to be very useful in keeping track of my CPF balance and transaction history, and I can easily make CPF top-ups and housing payments via CPF.
Other miscellaneous tasks such as booking a PA or SportsSG facility can also be done on the app.
The app can cater to municipal needs – including applying/renewing for season parking, checking/renewing road tax, or even paying LTA fines and ERP admin fees if you own a car.
Other features include applying or renewing a PAssion card, making an appointment for blood donation and checking personal medical appointments.
More features and services will be added progressively with feedback from citizens, which can be submitted under “Explore Services”.
No More Paper Forms
Newly-minted parents are often overwhelmed by round-the-clock childcare, childbirth recovery, gynae appointments and so on.
They also have to deal with copious amounts of paperwork, from registering the baby’s birth, applying for the baby bonus and opening a Child Development Account (CDA) to receive said bonus.
The “LifeSG” app has eased the process for this particular Singaporean couple.
They were able to submit all three applications at one time, without having to send separate applications to the different governmental departments.
They also commended on how seamless and fuss-free the process was.
That aside, parents can also search for and indicate interest in pre-school facilities of their choice and access their child’s immunisation and medical appointment records via the app.
They can also get up-to-date information on government schemes and benefits at their fingertips.
Another beneficiary of the app is Crystal Chew, 29, who gave birth to her first child in February.
She was worried about the amount of paperwork and travelling she would have to do to register her daughter’s birth at the hospital and the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) building.
She only found out about the app from the nursing staff at Thomson Medical Centre.
Key features of the app include electronic application for birth registration, online access to the child’s immunisation records and access to information on government schemes and benefits.
Thanks to the app, Crystal was able to register her newborn’s birth from the comfort of her home a few days after being discharged from the hospital and she did not have to rush to do the registration during the hospital stay.
With the app, the applications are processed instantly.
At the Committee of Supply (COS) debate last year, Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister-In-Charge of the Smart Nation Initiative, said the app reduces a parent’s waiting time during the birth registration process from an hour to a mere 15 minutes.
To date, the app has been used to register seven^ in 10 newborns at both government and private hospitals.
Furthermore, when your child is nearing the age to enrol in primary school, you can register your child for the Primary 1 admission exercise via the app.
A Handy Helper In Your Pocket
Singapore has one of the fastest ageing populations in the world and by the year 2030, some 900,000 Singaporeans will be over the age of 65.
In the app, senior citizens can find an embedded Merdeka Generation (MG) e-card.
MG seniors can flash their MG e-card and start enjoying subsidies at the Community Health Assist Scheme (CHAS) GP and dental clinics, and discounts at participating merchant outlets such as supermarkets and attractions.
These can help them cut down on daily expenses as they remain physically active.
It really is an all-encompassing app, which begs the question: What can the app not do?
New Features, Better User Interface
As mentioned, jobseekers can now get resources and help with the “Employment Support Guide” rolled out in June 2020.
The agency driving Singapore’s Smart Nation initiative and the “LifeSG” app, GovTech has been working on improving the app for Singaporeans.
The refreshed app, called LifeSG, will include a new user interface with improved navigation, topical guides and the following features. The brand relaunch will take place in August.
Here’s what you can expect:
Explore Services – Citizens can explore and easily access more than 40 Government services (up from 12 services previously featured on the app). Information displayed is grouped according to topics of interest, such as family and parenting, work and employment, healthcare, housing and property, and other frequently used digital services. More services will be added progressively.
Personalised Dashboard – Citizens can use the dashboard to discover recommended content, access guides that simplify processes such as job and preschool searches and discover government benefits through features such as the Family Support Calculator.
Why You Should Download LifeSG
The Covid-19 crisis has underscored the importance of Singapore’s Smart Nation vision, which focuses on applying technology to improve lives and livelihoods and stay ahead as a global city.
At a time when lifestyle habits are drastically altered and economic activity disrupted, we have to admit that technology and innovation have been crucial in helping citizens and businesses adjust to new norms.
Physical queues were eliminated and we quickly digitalised manual processes which we have already done away with in a Smart Nation.
During the crisis, we could use the eligibility checker for government support and apply online for them, along with a curated guide to Covid-19 which contains relief measures, tools, resources, community stories and more to help Singaporeans get through this tough time.
There are also resources for a retrenched worker to know the benefits he or she is entitled to as well as get help on finding a new job and income-generating alternatives.
It is safe to say that this app is integral in every Singaporean’s life.
To start using the LifeSG app, you may download it via here or by scanning the QR Code below.
^This figure refers to newborns who meet the eligibility criteria to have their births registered via the app.
*Feature is only available for parents with children aged six and below. Services for other user profiles will be progressively rolled out.
Featured Image Credit: Honeykids Asia / HSBC / Gov.sg
This article is written in collaboration with GovTech Singapore.