3 Grants & Schemes To Help Singaporean Employees Whose Jobs Are Affected By COVID-19

COVID-19 Support Grant, SIRS, The Courage Fund

COVID-19 Support Grant

Besides the toll it has taken on our national health, COVID-19 has also hit Singapore’s economy and left it reeling in a recession. And as we know, any recession has its victims, mainly jobs and livelihoods being compromised. 

If you’re one of those who’ve been affected job-wise, take some solace in the fact that the government is giving grants to help Singaporeans through this difficult time. Here are the grants to note and how to apply for them. 

For other career articles to help you out: 

1. COVID-19 Support Grant – for those who’ve lost jobs or income

If you’ve been laid off or forced to take a pay cut, the COVID-19 Support Grant is here to tide you through the sudden income loss. It’s focused on Singaporeans and PRs who have lost jobs or had to take involuntary no-pay leave or pay cuts of at least 30% for at least 3 consecutive months

If you accept this grant, you must actively job hunt or attend selected training programmes by WSG or e2i. No lounging on the sofa watching Netflix for months on end, here.

Who qualifies: Singaporeans and PRs above 16 years old, and who are unemployed or experienced income loss due to the coronavirus. This is defined as after 23 January 2020. Previous gross monthly household income should be less than $10k, and the property you stay in is valued as less than $21k* annually. 

What do you get: A monthly grant of up to $800 for 3 months. The exact amount will be determined by your last drawn monthly salary. 

  • For those who’ve lost jobs, you will get extra employment and training support from Workforce Singapore and Employment and Employability Institute.
  • For those on no-pay leave, level up in that time with subsidised selected SkillsFuture courses.

How to apply: Head to the MSF website and apply. Other qualifying criteria is also displayed here – such as not being an intern or NSF. You can apply from now till 30th September. 

Pro tip: Besides your NRIC, payslips, and bank account number, you need relevant documents to indicate your retrenchment or loss of income through no-pay leave or salary cuts. 

So, remember to get your HR to officially award you a letter before leaving the office permanently, or agreeing to a pay cut or no pay leave. 

*Other T&Cs apply. See application link.

2. Self-Employed Person Income Relief Scheme (SIRS) – for freelancers, taxi drivers & other SEPs

SIRS was first announced in the Resilience Budget announced in late March, and every freelancer was wondering: do I qualify?

Well, wonder no more. Singaporean self-employed persons (SEPs) who meet all the criteria and are aged 37 and above (as of end 2020) and declared positive Net Trade Income to IRAS/CPF Board will automatically get the payouts. They will get an SMS or letter about it and payouts will roll in at the end of May. 

Who qualifies: Don’t lose hope if you haven’t got any news. Self-employed people who meet the following criteria are also eligible. 

  • Started work as an SEP on or before 25 March 2020
  • Earn a Net Trade Income of less than $100,000
  • Live in a property with an annual value of up to $21,000
  • You (and your spouse, if married) do not own 2 or more properties
  • If married, your spouse’s assessable income does not exceed $70,000

If you’re younger than 37 or did not declare your Net Trade Income, you can still manually apply for it. If you’re still confused, use NTUC’s SIRS eligibility checker.

What do you get: Up to $1,000/months for a period of 9 months. This will be in 3 blocks of $3,000 in cash during end May, July and October 2020.

How to apply: Under-37 folk can apply at the NTUC website. But before you sign in, make sure you have all the relevant documents with you. These differ based on when you started self-employment, as well as your marital status. 

Image credit: NTUC

Pro tip: If you’ve missed just 1 of the eligibility criteria and are struggling to make ends meet, still submit an application to NTUC as they will take this into consideration.

3. The Courage Fund – for frontline staff, low-income and affected  households

Adapted from TheSmartLocalTV

You know which Singaporeans exhibit especial courage in the face of the pandemic? That’s our healthcare workers, frontline workers and community volunteers who do their bit against the highly contagious virus. As such, if they’re infected by Covid-19, they and their families will be given financial assistance through The Courage Fund.

Low-income households who have family members afflicted by Covid-19, or who are on Stay At Home Notice (SHN), mandatory Leave Of Absence (LOA) or Home Quarantine Order (HQO) will also be eligible for differing amounts. Last but not least, households who have family members that passed away due to the virus will also get financial assistance.

Who qualifies: Healthcare or frontline workers who’ve reasonably come into contact with a COVID-19 patient, and contracted the virus. 

Also, low-income households whose income went down by at least 10% due to COVID-19. The prior household income should also be less than $3,900. ComCare clients are also eligible.

What do you get: 

  • For healthcare workers who’ve gotten COVID-19 in the line of duty – one-time sum of $5,000
  • For frontline and community workers who’ve gotten COVID-19 in the line of duty – one-time sum of $3,000
  • Low-income households who meet the above criteria – up to $1,000.
  • Families who’ve lost a family member due to COVID-19 – up to $30,000.

How to apply: Head to the NCSS website and apply under the scheme you’re eligible for. You can also apply at any Social Service Office. 

COVID-19 government grants & schemes

With these grants and schemes to mitigate some of the effects of the coronavirus, we hope that you won’t be feeling the brunt of this economic storm. If you still have cash flow troubles, also consider applying for a deferment of your income taxes to help you get through this period. 

Remember, do not make false claims for these schemes! Make sure you meet the criteria and submit relevant documents – don’t waste the time of those looking into your claims as there are many in Singapore who urgently need aid. 

In the meantime, keep your chin up – things will get better. 

Find the latest official updates for grants, schemes and packages.

Jessica Lai

I’ve been called basic, but I hold an advanced degree in Disney songs, pop psychology and losing things. 

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