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MSF, LTA announce additional COVID-19 relief grants for those financially impacted

Staff Writer, Singapore
·Editorial Team
·5-min read
FILE PHOTO: Yahoo News Singapore
FILE PHOTO: Yahoo News Singapore

SINGAPORE — A new COVID-19 Recovery Grant (CRG) will be launched on 18 January to support lower- to middle-income employees and self-employed persons who are financially impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) announced the grant on Wednesday (16 December) to help such individuals as they actively search for new jobs or training opportunities.

On the same day, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) also announced a new COVID-19 Driver Relief Fund to replace the current Special Relief Fund for taxi and private-hire car drivers, in order to moderate the financial impact of the pandemic on drivers.

Interim and targeted support for Singaporeans, PRs

The CRG provides interim and targeted support to Singaporeans and permanent residents who are financially impacted by COVID-19 and have less financial means and family support. The financial support provided will be as follows:

  • Up to $700 per month for three months to employees who are either unemployed due to retrenchment or involuntary contract termination, or placed on involuntary no-pay leave for at least three consecutive months.

  • Up to $500 per month for three months to employees who are facing salary loss of at least 50 per cent on average for at least three consecutive months; and self-employed persons who are facing an average loss in net trade income (NTI) of at least 50 per cent over a period of at least three consecutive months, compared to their average monthly NTI in 2019 or 2020.

INFOGRAPHIC: Ministry for Social and Family Development
INFOGRAPHIC: Ministry for Social and Family Development

The job loss, involuntary no-pay leave or income loss should have occurred after 23 January 2020 – when the first case of COVID-19 was detected in Singapore – and must still be present at the point of application.

The CRG comes after Budget 2020 relief measures such as the Temporary Relief Fund, COVID-19 Support Grant (CSG), and Self-Employed Person Income Relief Scheme (SIRS). National Jobs Council (NJC) has been working with tripartite partners to create jobs, traineeships, attachments and training opportunities under the SGUnited Jobs and Skills Package.

“Given the protracted economic impact of COVID-19, there are individuals who remain significantly affected by job or income loss despite the suite of Budget relief measures and NJC initiatives,” MSF said in a media release on Wednesday.

“The government has therefore decided to provide targeted support to help these individuals while they actively search for a new job or training opportunities.”

Criteria needed to apply for CRG

Compared to the CSG and SIRS, the new CRG is targeted at those with lower household incomes. Applicants must have a gross monthly household income of $7,800 or less, or a monthly per capita income of $2,600 or less, prior to being affected by COVID-19.

Also, to be eligible for the new grant, applicants must have been economically active before being affected by COVID-19’s economic impact. Employees should have worked for at least six months between January 2019 and December 2020, while self-employed persons should have declared their NTI in either 2019 or 2020.

Furthermore, applicants must be facing income loss of at least 50 per cent on average for at least three consecutive months. Compared to CSG and SIRS, the CRG is targeted at those who suffered more significant income loss.

To qualify for the CRG, applicants need to demonstrate efforts in job search or training by applying for jobs or skills opportunities through government-linked portals such as MyCareersFuture and MySkillsFuture Portal, attending job interviews or participating in career coaching at Workforce Singapore (WSG) career centres, WSG-appointed career matching providers or NTUC-e2i’s career centres.

They can apply for the CRG online from 9am to 10pm daily (including weekends and public holidays), from 18 January to 31 December 2021. They should prepare their supporting documents in advance for a smooth application process.

Those who need help completing the online application form can call the ComCare Call hotline (1800-222-0000) or email Ask_SSO@msf.gov.sg. Those who are unable to apply online can visit their nearest Social Service Office for assistance.

LTA’s COVID-19 Driver Relief Fund for taxi, PHC drivers

LTA’s COVID-19 Driver Relief Fund (CDRF) will replace the existing Special Relief Fund (SRF) for taxi and private-hire car (PHC) drivers to moderate the coronavirus pandemic’s impact on them.

Since February, the SRF has provided support to these drivers at $300 per vehicle per month. Eligible drivers have also received payouts ($3,000 each in May, July and October) under SIRS.

The new CDRF scheme will cost an additional $133 million, on top of the $55 million committed towards the SRF.

INFOGRAPHIC: Land Transport Authority
INFOGRAPHIC: Land Transport Authority

Existing drivers who are eligible for the SRF (about 52,000 of them) will be automatically transitioned to the CDRF from January.

Drivers who receive the CDRF will not be eligible for MSF’s COVID-19 Relief Grant. Those who do not qualify for the CDRF may apply for the grant if they meet its eligibility criteria.

“Despite the improving COVID-19 situation in Singapore, taxi and PHC ridership remains lower than pre-COVID levels, as tourism activities remain muted and many employees are still working from home,” LTA said in a media release on Wednesday.

“COVID-19 has also changed commuting patterns, with shorter taxi and PHC trips which result in lower fares per trip.”

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