SINGAPORE – Those who have been financially affected by the coronavirus outbreak through losing their jobs or income will be able to apply for a one-time cash assistance of $500 from April 1.
Under the Temporary Relief Fund, lower- to middle-income Singaporeans and permanent residents who are not on ComCare assistance will be able to get immediate financial assistance to help with basic living expenses.
Applications will open at all social service offices (SSOs) run by the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) as well as all community centres from April 1 to 30.
Those who face challenges in finding new employment because of the pandemic can also apply for the Covid-19 Support Grant, which will provide longer-term financial assistance and job support.
From May 1, those who are eligible will receive $800 a month for three months if they also commit to receiving employment and training support from Workforce Singapore (WSG) and the Employment and Employability Institute (e2i).
Recipients of the grant who continue to need support for a longer period will be assessed for ComCare assistance, said MSF on Friday (March 27).
The two financial assistance schemes were part of a slate of measures in a supplementary Budget announced by Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat on Thursday to help Singapore cope with the coronavirus pandemic.
Details of how to apply were announced by the MSF on Friday.
The landmark $48.4 billion Resilience Budget comes on top of the $6.4 billion package that was announced about a month ago to cushion the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Those who receive the Temporary Relief Fund will not have to submit the same supporting documents to apply for the Covid-19 Support Grant if they need longer-term assistance, said MSF.
However, they will have to undertake that they will participate actively in their job search and retraining programmes under WSG or e2i.
Eligibility criteria for Covid-19 support schemes
1. Temporary Relief Fund: One-off $500 cash assistance in April
– Singapore citizens or permanent residents who have lost their jobs or faced a personal income loss of at least 30 per cent due to Covid-19
– Household income of ≤$10,000, or per capita household income of ≤$3,100, before their employment or income was affected
– Not currently receiving ComCare assistance
2. Covid-19 Support Grant: Monthly cash grant of $800 for 3 months
– Singapore citizens or permanent residents aged 16 years and above who are unemployed due to retrenchment or contract termination as a result of Covid-19
– Household income of ≤$10,000, or per capita household income of ≤$3,100 before unemployment
– Live in a property with an annual value of ≤$21,000
– Not currently receiving ComCare assistance
– Recipients must have been employed as a full-time or part-time permanent or contract staff prior to unemployment, and agree to actively participate in job searches or attend a training programme under Workforce Singapore or the Employment and Employability Institute
3. The Courage Fund: One-time lump sum of up to $1,000
– Experienced a complete or partial (of at least 10 per cent) loss of household income due to Covid-19
– Household income of ≤$3,900, or per capita household income of ≤$1,350, before being affected by Covid-19
– Those receiving ComCare assistance can apply
MSF also said that while household income is considered as part of the eligibility criteria for the assistance schemes, more than one eligible individual from the same household can get help from the Covid-19 Support Grant.
Those who are already receiving ComCare assistance, however, will not be able to apply for either the Temporary Relief Fund or the Covid-19 Support Grant.
MSF said that this is because they already receive comprehensive support for their basic living expenses, including cash assistance as well as assistance with household bills and medical bills.
“If ComCare clients require more assistance due to changes in financial circumstances, SSO will work with them to review their assistance package,” said the ministry.
Apart from government initiatives, Singaporeans have also donated to support those affected by the pandemic, with more than $5.6 million raised for The Courage Fund, a central donation platform, said MSF.
The fund will help dependants of those who succumb to the virus; healthcare workers, frontline workers and community volunteers who contract the virus in the course of duty; and lower-income families who experience financial difficulties because a family member contracted the virus or has to serve quarantine, stay-home notices or mandatory leave of absence.
Eligible lower-income households will be able to apply to receive a one-time lump sum of up to $1,000 from The Courage Fund at SSOs from April 6.
Application details will be available from the National Council of Social Service’s website by end-March. Those who currently receive ComCare assistance can apply for this scheme.