Unemployment during this Covid-19 outbreak is a very real thing. The government recently announced the supplementary resilience budget 2020, setting aside an extra $48 billion to support the economy.
A huge chunk of this money will go to helping those who’ve been retrenched and/or had to suffer pay cuts. If you’re one of the affected, here’s a handy guide on financial assistance from the government.
Government Covid-19 relief — financial assistance schemes
As mentioned, a lot of the $48 billion Resilience Budget is going to (as the government puts it) “supporting workers” and “protecting livelihoods”.
Here’s an overview on the financial assistance and eligibility conditions.
Note: Since the Resilience Budget in March, there has been 1 more Solidarity Budget announcement (Apr 2020). This article reflects the updated information.
For those who were retrenched:
1. Covid-19 Support Grant — $800 monthly for 3 months
What it is: a cash grant of $800 per month for 3 months, for low- and middle-income Singaporeans who lost their jobs due to Covid-19.
The application window is from May to Sep 2020, at any social service office (SSO). If you need urgent assistance, look up the Temporary Relief Fund. You can read more about the Covid-19 Support Grant here.
- Singapore Citizen or PR, 16 years old and above
- Lost permanent or contract job due to Covid-19
- Had a monthly household income of not more than $10,000, or per capita household income not more than $3,100 per month prior to unemployment
- Lives in a property with an annual value under $21,000
- Not currently receiving ComCare Short-to-Medium Term Assistance (SMTA) or ComCare Interim Assistance
- Must agree and undertake to actively participate in job search, or attend a training programme under Workforce Singapore or the Employment and Employability Institute
2. Temporary Relief Fund — $500 urgent payout
What it is: one-off $500 cash, paid out in April 2020 for families whose livelihoods were affected by Covid-19 and require urgent help. You can apply from 1 to 30 Apr 2020, producing proof of your employment termination, previous income documents, and the application form.
- Singapore Citizen or PR
- Lost their jobs or faced a personal income loss of at least 30% due to Covid-19 (loss of job or income must have occurred after 23 Jan 2020)
- Had a household income of $10,000 and below, or per capita household income of $3,100 and below, before their employment or income was affected
- Not currently receiving ComCare assistance
3. NTUC Care Fund (Covid-19) — one-time payout for union members
What it is: one-off relief of $50 to $300 for eligible union members. $25 million has been set aside for the Care Fund, contributed by NTUC-U Care Fund, the Government and NTUC affiliated Unions and Associations. You can read more about the Covid-19 NTUC Care Fund here.
- Must be an existing union member as at 1 March 2020 OR new Member as at 2 March 2020 onwards
- Suffered a loss of income of at least 30% reduction
- OR was retrenched (with retrenchment benefits of not more than $6,500)
- OR a freelancer / self-employed person with job and/or event cancellations
- Must earn gross monthly personal income under $3,400 (members with dependents) / $1,500 (members without dependents)
For freelancers and self-employed persons (SEPs):
1. SEP Income Relief Scheme (SIRS) – $1,000 monthly from May to Oct 2020
What it is: 3 quarterly cash payouts of $3,000 each in May, Jul, and Oct 2020 for eligible self-employed persons (SEPs). The criteria for SIRS is similar to that of the Workfare scheme, but more lenient. About 100,000 SEPs are expected to benefit from this.
If you’re age 37 and over in 2020 and already declared your SEP income to the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) / CPF Board (CPFB) 1 for Work Year 2018, you do not need to apply. You will be automatically notified of your eligibility via letter and SMS, and will receive the first SIRS payout automatically in May 2020.
Otherwise, stay tune for updates on how to apply for SIRS if you weren’t already automatically included.
- Started work as an SEP on or before 25 March 2020
- Do not also earn income as an employee
- Earn a Net Trade Income of no more than $100,000
- Live in a property with an annual value of no more than $21,000 (previously $13,000)
- Do not own two or more properties
- (For married SEPs) the individual and spouse together do not own two or more properties
- (For married SEPs) the Assessable Income of his/her spouse does not exceed $70,000
2. SEP Training Support Scheme — $10 hourly allowance during upskill training
What it is: an increased allowance of $10 per hour (previously $7.50) for SEPs who attend SkillsFuture courses and selected sector-specific programmes.
This is in addition to SkillsFuture credits (which can be used to offset fees) and training subsidies which cover up to 90% of the costs.
Eligibility: Not released yet.
More Covid-19 support:
1. Point-to-Point Support Package (PPSP) — $300 monthly till Sep 2020 for taxi and private hire drivers
What it is: Special Relief Fund payments of $300 per vehicle per month for eligible taxi hirers and private hire car drivers. This is an enhancement to the PPSP, which was first launched in Feb 2020 to help taxi and private hire drivers, who had an estimated 20% drop in earnings due to Covid-19.
- Full-time point-to-point (P2P) drivers (taxi and private hire)
- P2P drivers must continue driving during period of assistance
- Relief taxi drivers are not eligible, and the money will go to the main hirer of the vehicle
- Private hire drivers must have completed min. 200 trips per month from Oct to Dec 2019
- Private hire drivers may only receive relief from one operator (e.g. Grab or Gojek or Ryde, but not all, even if you drive for multiple platforms)
- You may read the full PPSP FAQ here.
2. The Courage Fund — up to $30,000 for dependants of those with Covid-19
What it is: Relief payments for families of those with Covid-19 and healthcare workers who contracted Covid-19 while at work.
The Courage Fund was started in 2003 during the SARS outbreak to provide relief to SARS victims and healthcare workers. It has continued since, and in the same spirit, is supporting those affected by Covid-19. There are 4 schemes in total for different groups of people:
- $10,000 to $30,000 for dependants of individuals who have succumbed to Covid-19
- $5,000 for Healthcare workers who have contracted Covid-19 in the line of duty
- $3,000 for frontline workers and community volunteers who have contracted Covid-19 in the line of duty
- Up to $1,000 for affected households due to individuals contracting Covid-19 or serving Quarantine Orders (QO), Stay-Home Notices (SHN) or mandatory Leave of Absence (LOA)
The eligibility criteria and relief sums differ across the schemes, to check if you are eligible, refer to the official information page by NCSS.
Did I miss anything out? Share them with us in the comments below and I will be happy to add them in.