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Temporary Relief Fund & COVID-19 Support Grant: Who Qualifies For It – And How Much Help Can You Receive?

The COVID-19 Support Grant ($800 per month for three months) will be extended till 31 December 2020. You can apply for it again on 1 October if you are eligible.


This article was first published on 9 April 2020 and has been updated on 23 September 2020 after the Ministry of Social and Family Development extended the COVID-19 Support Grant until 31 December 2020

2020 has been a testing time for everyone in Singapore. From the government to businesses, households, workers, the self-employed and part-time workers, everyone in Singapore has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and none of us can predict when our lives would revert to what it used to be.

Nonetheless, life still has to continue, and that means our bills continue needing to be paid, even if we are now earning less than usual, are on unpaid leave or may have lost our jobs.

To help Singapore workers cope with the financial hardship that they may face, several schemes have been introduced by the government in 2020.  Amongst them is the Temporary Relief Fund and the COVID-19 Support Grant. Both these schemes have been set up to help Singapore residents deal with immediate short-term financial challenges during this period.

Read Also: Self-Employed Person Income Relief Scheme: Are You Eligible To Receive $1000 A Month For 9 Months?

Temporary Relief Fund: One-Off $500 Cash Support

The Temporary Relief Fund will provide a one-off cash grant of $500 for lower- and middle-income Singaporeans and Permanent Residents (PRs) who have been affected by the economic impact of COVID-19 and who requires immediate financial help with their basic living expenses.

To qualify, you must meet the following criteria.

– Singapore Citizens or Permanent Residents aged 16 years and above.

– Retrenched or suffered substantial (at least 30%) loss of personal income due to COVID-19. Loss of job or income must have taken place after 23 January 2020 when COVID-19 first occurred.

– Had a gross monthly household income of $10,000 or less. Or a gross monthly per capita income of $3,100 or less prior to the loss of job or reduction of income.

– Not a current beneficiary of ComCare assistance, i.e. Long-Term Assistance, Short-to-Medium-Term Assistance, Interim Assistance.

While the requirements are quite clear, there have been incidents of people trying to exploit. This has led to the Minister for Social and Family Development Mr Desmond Lee sharing a Facebook Post on how a small number of people are taking advantage of the scheme, or encouraging others who do not need help to “cheat” the system.

So, if you qualify for the criteria as stated above, do apply for the cash support. If you don’t, then do not apply for it. But if you do apply because you are unsure of whether you qualify, do NOT lie on your application.

How To Apply For Temporary Relief Fund (Update: Application for the Temporary Relief Fund have closed on 30 April 2020)

Online Application: Those with a Singpass account and a registered PayNow account can apply from 9am to 6pm at go.gov.sg/temporary-relief-fund. You will to upload your 1) letter of retrenchment/termination of contract (if applicable) and 2) relevant documents showing reduction of income as a result of COVID-19 (e.g. payslips, CPF statements), if applicable.

Application at Social Service Office (SSO) or Community Centre/Club: Fill in the Temporary Relief Fund application form. The forms are also available at any SSO or Community Centre/Club. Bring along the following supporting documents when submitting your application form to any of the SSOs or Community Centres/Club:

1) NRIC
2) Letter of retrenchment/termination of contract, if applicable
3) Relevant documents showing reduction of income as a result of COVID-19 (e.g. payslips, CPF statements), if applicable.

You can apply from now till 30 April 2020.

COVID-19 Support Grant: Monthly Cash Grant Of $800 For 3 Months

The COVID-19 Support Grant will support individuals whose livelihoods have been affected by COVID-19. These include people who have 1) lost their jobs due to COVID-19; 2) have been placed on involuntary no-pay leave for at least 3 consecutive months; 3) seen a salary reduction of at least 30% for at least 3 consecutive months.

Successful applicants will receive a monthly cash grant for a period of 3 months with a quantum based on their last-drawn salary. For those who lost their jobs, this amount will be capped at $800 a month, while the payout for those who saw a salary reduction will be capped at $500 a month.

These funds will provide financial assistance while they continue finding new jobs or attend training.

To qualify, you must meet the following criteria.

– Singapore Citizens or Permanent Residents aged 16 years and above.

– Had a gross monthly household income of not more than $10,000, Or a gross monthly per capita income of $3,100 or less prior to the loss of job.

– Live in a property with an annual value of $21,000 or less.

– Not a current beneficiary of ComCare assistance, i.e. Long-Term Assistance, Short-to-Medium-Term Assistance, Interim Assistance.

In addition to the above criteria, recipients must:

– Have been employed as a full-time or part-time permanent or contract staff prior to job loss or salary reduction, which occured after January 23 (when the first case of COVID-19 was detected in Singapore)

– Agree to actively participate in job search or attend a training programme under Workforce Singapore or the Employment and Employability Institute.

One of the key differences (currently) between the COVID-19 Support Grant and the Temporary Relief Fund is that applicants need to have lost their job to be eligible for the COVID-19 Support Grant.

They must also agree to actively participate in job search or attend a training programme under Workforce Singapore or the Employment and Employability Institute.

Extension of COVID-19 Support Grant & Revised Eligibility Criteria

In his Ministerial Statement on 17 August 2020, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Mr Heng Swee Keat announced that applications for the COVID-19 Support Grant will be extended until 31 December 2020.

The COVID-19 Support Grant is open to

1. First-time applicants who fulfil the eligibility criteria; and

2. From 1 Oct 2020, individuals who are currently receiving or have received COVID-19 Support Grant, and fulfil the revised eligibility criteria after their initial support has ended. They can apply for an additional three months of COVID-19 Support Grant.

The revised eligibility criteria for the COVID-19 Support Grant will come into effect from 1 October 2020. The additional criteria stated below have to be met, in addition to the initial criteria that were already in place.

Job Search or Training Requirement for Unemployed Applicants: The Government’s SGUnited Jobs & Skills Package helps workers affected by the economic impact of COVID-19 acquire job-related skills and capabilities and access expanded employment opportunities. In line with these efforts, all applicants (whether first or second-time applicants) who are unemployed must demonstrate job search or training efforts to qualify for COVID-19 Support Grant.

Property Ownership Criterion: To ensure that CSG support is given to those with less means, applicants should not own more than one property.

You can find full details of the eligibility criteria here.

How To Apply For COVID-19 Support Grant

Applications for the COVID-19 Support Grant have been extended till 31 December 2020. You can apply online or at the nearest Social Service Office, with your NRIC, bank account details, and relevant documents, such as a letter of retrenchment/termination of contract, past & current payslips, or CPF contribution statements.

Read Also: Unity, Resilience, Solidarity Budget 2020: Here’s How Much S’pore Households Will Be Getting (And When) To Help Tide Through The COVID-19 Crisis

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