Saturday, 2 May 2020

COVID-19 Support Grant: More workers now eligible for financial help

Singaporeans, PRs on involuntary no-pay leave or had pay cut now eligible for COVID-19 Support Grant
By Goh Yan Han, The Straits Times, 1 May 2020

More Singaporeans are now eligible for financial help if their jobs have been affected by the COVID-19 outbreak and the measures taken to contain it.

The Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) said yesterday that the COVID-19 Support Grant would be expanded to include more Singaporean and permanent resident workers here.

The grant application has also been pushed back from May 1 to May 4 or 11, depending on the employee's situation.

The grant was originally meant to support only those who had lost their jobs due to the pandemic.

MSF said it will now also cover employees placed on involuntary no-pay leave for at least three consecutive months and employees who have had their salaries reduced by at least 30 per cent for three consecutive months.

These changes in employment or salary should have occurred after Jan 23, when the first COVID-19 case was detected in Singapore, said the MSF in a statement.

In a Facebook post yesterday, Minister for Social and Family Development Desmond Lee said: "We recognise that Singaporeans may need more support after this month. That is why we have decided to enhance the COVID-19 Support Grant when applications open from May to Sept 30, 2020."

The grant will provide the workers with up to $800 a month for three months if they meet the job loss or no-pay leave criteria.

Those who have lost their job will also receive employment and training support from Workforce Singapore and the Employment and Employability Institute. Those on no-pay leave will also have access to relevant courses subsidised by SkillsFuture Singapore.

They can apply for the grant from May 4.

Those who qualify based on their pay cut will receive up to $500 a month for three months, with the quantum based on the amount of basic monthly salary lost.

These employees can apply for the grant from May 11.

Applications should be made online and applicants will have to upload supporting documents showing their employment situation and their previous and current salary levels.

Those who are unable to apply online can head to the nearest Social Service Office to schedule an application slot.

Those who applied for the Temporary Relief Fund and indicated interest in applying for the COVID-19 Support Grant need not re-apply if they had submitted all the necessary supporting documents earlier.

Applications are open for five months till Sept 30, 2020.

Current beneficiaries of public financial assistance scheme ComCare's short-to-medium-term assistance or long-term assistance are not eligible for the grant.

Existing ComCare beneficiaries whose assistance is ending by July this year will have the support extended for a further six months without the need for submission of new documents and signatures.

Those newly placed on ComCare will also receive at least six months of assistance.

ComCare beneficiaries get holistic support: Ministry of Social and Family Development

We thank Mr John Lim Le Sheng for his views (Let ComCare recipients apply for other official sources of help, April 30).

ComCare is a core pillar of our social safety net to support low-income families in need. ComCare Short-to-Medium Term Assistance (SMTA) provides beneficiaries with comprehensive support. Other than cash assistance and support with medical expenses, beneficiaries may also receive assistance with their household bills (including rental, utilities, and service and conservancy charges).

Based on the families' needs and circumstances, the Ministry of Social and Family Development's social service offices (SSOs) also facilitate their access to relevant services and support by government agencies and community partners.

We agree with Mr Lim that it is important to support ComCare beneficiaries during the COVID-19 circuit breaker. Existing ComCare beneficiaries whose assistance is ending between now and July will have their assistance extended for a further six months without the need for further review. We will review the need for automatic extension of assistance on a quarterly basis.

When informing ComCare beneficiaries of their extended assistance, we will also invite them to approach the SSOs for a review of their current support if their circumstances have changed. SSOs will increase their current level of ComCare support if needed. If the individual or family comes forward with urgent needs, our SSOs will provide them with ComCare Interim Assistance, while reviewing their assistance package under ComCare SMTA.

New ComCare beneficiaries will generally receive at least six months of assistance, which provides them with a longer runway to regain stability.

We would like to assure Mr Lim that ComCare beneficiaries will continue to be supported holistically through longer-term and comprehensive support. The Temporary Relief Fund, on the other hand, was set up to provide one-off interim assistance for those affected by the economic impact of COVID-19.

Many social service agencies, community partners and volunteers have partnered us so that essential services for the vulnerable can continue safely in this crisis. We must continue to look out for one another, so that we can collectively provide stronger support to those in need.

If members of the public come across any individuals or families who may need help, they can inform us through the ComCare Call hotline on 1800-222-0000, and we will reach out to provide the appropriate support.

Kong Kum Peck
Director, ComCare and Social Support Division
Ministry of Social and Family Development
ST Forum, 4 May 2020

No comments:

Post a comment