Industry Insights

Lower- and middle-income workers to get extra support under new Covid-19 Recovery Grant

Posted on 21/12/2020 by Paula Formantes


Lower- and middle-income workers affected by the pandemic will get more help from the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) under a new grant.

Called the Covid-19 Recovery Grant (CRG), the scheme announced on Wednesday, 16th December, is for those who continue to suffer significant job or income losses despite earlier measures to help workers. People can start applying for the grant from January 18th, 2021. Applications will close on December 31st next year.

The new grant is different from the existing Covid-19 Support Grant or Self-Employed Person Income Relief Scheme (Sirs). Applications for the Covid-19 Support Grant will close by December 31st, while the Sirs will lapse by year-end.

Under the new scheme, two groups of people can get up to $700 a month for three months. These are:

  • People who are unemployed due to retrenchment or involuntary contract termination
  • People who have been placed on involuntary no-pay leave for at least three consecutive months

The CRG will provide up to $500 a month for three months, for these groups:

  • Employees who are facing salary losses of at least 50 percent on average for at least three consecutive months
  • Self-employed persons who are facing an average loss in net trade income (NTI) of at least 50 percent over a period of at least three consecutive months, compared with their average monthly NTI in 2019 or 2020

All these losses must have occurred after January 23rd when the first case of Covid-19 was found in Singapore. They must be present at the point of application.

The grant is aimed at people with a lower household income, as well as those who have suffered more significant income losses. Applicants must have had a gross monthly household income of $7,800 or less, or a monthly per capita income of $2,600 or less before being affected by Covid-19.

To qualify for the grant, applicants also need to show proof that they have been searching for jobs or seeking to upgrade their skills through government-linked portals, attending job interviews, or participating in career coaching at specific government-linked career centres. Self-employed persons may also submit supporting evidence of two attempts to reach out to clients or businesses in the two months before applying for the new grant.

Nearly 200,000 self-employed persons have benefited from the scheme, with about $1.8 billion paid out between April and December. More than half of the beneficiaries were automatically eligible, while the rest successfully applied for the scheme. Roughly seven in 10 applications processed by the NTUC were approved, as it exercised flexibility in the qualifying criteria.

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