SINGAPORE: The Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) on Friday (Mar 27) detailed two financial assistance schemes announced by Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat in the Resilience Budget that aim to help lower- to middle-income Singaporeans affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.
The Temporary Relief Fund and COVID-19 Support Grant will provide help to such Singaporeans, who are also not on ComCare assistance.
The former scheme provides an immediate one-off cash assistance of S$500 to lower- to middle-income Singaporeans and permanent residents who have lost their jobs or faced an income loss of at least 30 per cent due to the pandemic, and require urgent help with basic living expenses, said MSF.
The COVID-19 Support Grant helps lower- to middle-income Singaporeans and permanent residents who have lost their jobs due to COVID-19 and “continue to face challenges securing employment”, said MSF.
Eligible Singaporeans may receive S$800 a month for three months if they also commit to receiving employment and training support from the Workforce Singapore and Employment and Employability Institute.
This is aimed at “helping them get back on their feet and achieve stability”, said MSF.
The Temporary Relief Fund and the COVID-19 Support Grant are not available to those already assisted by ComCare, a government welfare programme that provides assistance to those who fall into financial hardship.
“If ComCare clients require more assistance due to changes in financial circumstances, SSO will work with them to review their assistance package,” said MSF.
Recipients of the COVID-19 Support Grant who continue to need support in the long term will be assessed for Comcare, added the ministry.
READ: COVID-19 Budget: Unemployment benefits increase; higher cash payouts for adult Singaporeans
READ: COVID-19 Budget: What you need to know about the Resilience Budget measures
EASIER COMCARE APPLICATIONS
The process of applying for ComCare will be made more flexible for those under quarantine or stay-home notices.
Affected persons do not have to apply for ComCare in person and can do so by submitting supporting documents through email or phone applications like WhatsApp.
The SSOs will also coordinate with grassroots volunteers to help purchase and deliver groceries to those in quarantine or under stay-home notices with no one else to turn to.
Households newly placed on ComCare will receive assistance for a longer duration of at least six months. This will be longer for most households, MSF said.
“The longer ComCare duration will provide greater peace of mind to families and individuals whose livelihoods have been affected by COVID-19, as they seek out job or retraining opportunities,” said MSF.
Additionally, Singapore citizens and companies have contributed more than S$5.6 million to a central donation platform dubbed the Courage Fund.
It will provide a one-time lump sum of up to S$1,000 to help the dependents of those who succumb to the coronavirus; healthcare workers, frontline workers and community volunteers who contract the virus in the course of duty; and lower-income families experiencing financial difficulties as a result of their family member(s) contracting the virus or having to serve quarantine orders, stay-home notices or mandatory Leave of Absence.
Application details will be available on the National Council of Social Service website by the end of March. Eligible lower-income households can apply for the fund at the SSOs from Apr 6.