SINGAPORE: The Ministry of Manpower will look into helping self-employed workers who are not automatically qualified for the recently announced new income relief scheme amid the COVID-19 outbreak. 

Manpower Minister Josephine Teo on Sunday (Mar 29) said that she was aware that some self-employed workers who are not eligible for the scheme are worried and hope to be considered. 

READ: COVID-19: Eligible self-employed workers to receive S$9,000 in quarterly cash payouts under new income relief scheme

The ministry will look into three main types of appeals, said Mrs Teo in a Facebook post. 

The first type would be those living in private properties with annual value “slightly more” than S$13,000, which already covers all HDB flats and some private apartments. 

The second type are those whose spouses earn more than S$70,000 a year but have many people at home to support.

The third would be those who are self-employed and have regular part-time work that pay a small salary.

READ: COVID-19 Resilience Budget: ‘Landmark’ S$48 billion package to tide Singapore through ‘unprecedented’ crisis

READ: COVID-19 Budget: Self-employed persons, firms, first time jobseekers to receive more support

“Interestingly, a number of people have cautioned me not to go overboard using taxpayers’ monies because the criteria and payouts are already generous,” she said.

“The Self-employed Persons (SEP) Income Relief Scheme is a brand new scheme, and a novel approach to help SEPs in this unprecedented crisis,” she added. 

“The help must come fast, so we used workfare criteria as a starting point. That would have covered about 50,000 SEPs, but we further expanded the criteria to automatically cover about 88,000 SEPs.” 

Mrs Teo said the payouts will come in May, July and October. 

She said she hopes to provide an update in about a week about how self-employed persons who do not meet the criteria can appeal.

“I hope this will give some assurance to you,” Ms Teo said.

Self-employed Singaporean workers who meet all of the following criteria are eligible for the scheme:

  • Started work as a self-employed person on or before Mar 25, 2020
  • Do not also earn income as an employee
  • Earn a net trade income of no more than S$100,000
  • Live in a property with an annual value of no more than S$13,000
  • Do not own two or more properties
  • SEPs who are married must not own two or more properties with their spouse and neither their assessable income nor their spouse’s can exceed S$70,000. 

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