As the spread of Covid-19 continues, the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) said yesterday (Dec 16) that a new scheme will be introduced to help Singaporeans and permanent residents affected by the pandemic.
Called as the COVID-19 Recovery Grant, the initiative will be launched on Jan 18, focusing on lower- to middle-income workers and self-employed people. Despite a raft of Budget relief measures and various National Jobs Council initiatives, MSF said there are “individuals who remain significantly affected by job or income loss”, Channel News Asia reports.
“The Government has therefore decided to provide targeted support to help these individuals while they actively search for a new job or training opportunities,” said the ministry.
Under the COVID-19 Recovery Grant, eligible Singaporeans and permanent residents aged 21 years old and above will receive up to S$700 a month for three months.
This is for employees who have been retrenched or had their contract terminated, or placed on no-pay leave for at least three consecutive months. Up to S$500 a month for three months will be paid out to those who are facing salary loss of at least 50 percent on average for at least three consecutive months.
Self-employed people facing an average loss in net trade income of at least 50 percent over a period of at least three consecutive months compared to their average monthly net trade income in 2019 or 2020 are also eligible to receive up to S$500 a month for three months.
The job loss, involuntary no-pay leave or income loss should have occurred after Jan 23 this year – when the first COVID-19 case was detected in Singapore – and must still be present at the point of application.
Compared to the COVID-19 Support Grant and the Self-Employed Person Income Relief Scheme (SIRS), the COVID-19 Recovery Grant is targeted at those with lower household income and those who have suffered “more significant income loss”, said MSF.
Under the new COVID-19 grant, applicants’ gross monthly household income must not exceed S$7,800, or a monthly per capita income of S$2,600, prior to being affected by the pandemic. Applicants must also be economically active prior to being affected. They should have worked for at least six months cumulatively between January 2018 and December 2020.
Self-employed people should also have declared their net trade income in either 2019 or 2020.
Applicants who are dual-status workers – those who draw both a salary as an employee and trade income as a self-employed person – need to meet either criterion to be eligible.
“This new criterion is introduced to target help for those who have been actively engaged in employment or trade in the past two years,” said MSF.
Under the grant, applicants must be facing income loss of at least 50 per cent on average for at least three consecutive months.
To qualify for the grant, applicants need to “demonstrate efforts” in job searching or training by applying for jobs or skills opportunity through Government-linked touchpoints such as the MyCareersFuture portal and MySkillsFuture portal. They can also attend job interviews or participate in career coaching at Workforce Singapore (WSG) career centres, WSG-appointed career matching providers or NTUC-e2i’s career centres.
Separately, active taxi and private-hire car drivers will be supported by the Land Transport Authority’s new COVID-19 Driver Relief Fund. Drivers who receive the driver relief fund, which was also announced on Wednesday, will not be eligible for the COVID-19 Recovery Grant. However, those who do not qualify for the relief fund may apply for the grant if they meet the eligibility criteria.
Applicants who are full-time national servicemen at the point of the application will also not be eligible for the grant.
Applicants should also not be receiving support from the following schemes when applying for the COVID-19 Recovery Grant: ComCare Short-to-Medium Term Assistance, ComCare Long-Term Assistance, Seafarers Relief Package, SGUnited Mid-Career Pathways Programme or SGUnited Skills Package.
APPLICATIONS TO OPEN FROM JAN 18, 2021
Applications for the COVID-19 Recovery Grant will be open from Jan 18 to Dec 31 next year. Those eligible can apply for the grant online via go.gov.sg/CRG from 9am to 10pm daily, including weekends and public holidays.
Those who require assistance in completing the online application form can call the ComCare Call hotline at 1800 222 0000 or email Ask_SSO@msf.gov.sg. Those who are unable to apply for the grant online can visit their nearest Social Service Office for assistance.