Covid-19 Relief Schemes - What Financial Support Can You Get in Singapore?
The Singapore government has launched several relief schemes to help employees, self-employed individuals and businesses steer through Covid-19’s economic blow. But with so many schemes to keep track of, things can get a little confusing. So we've compiled the list of financial assistance packages in Singapore and sorted them by who they're for.
Covid-19 Relief for Individuals & Retrenched Employees
You probably already know about the Temporary Relief Fund, an immediate, one-off cash payout of S$500 to help Singapore Citizens and PRs who have lost their jobs or income as a result of Covid-19. But as the name suggests, it's only a temporary measure. Here are 2 other forms of Covid-19 support you can get:
Covid-19 Support Grant
This grant supports low- and middle-income Singaporeans who have lost their jobs due to Covid-19. While these individuals look for a new job or attend skills training, they will receive S$800 a month in financial assistance over a period of 3 months.
The Courage Fund
The Courage Fund provides support to the hardest-hit among us: Those who have contracted Covid-19, especially those in the frontlines. The fund also extends to low-income families whose incomes are affected by a quarantine order or stay-home notice.
Covid-19 Support Grant
If you have lost your job due to Covid-19, you may be eligible for the Covid-19 Support Grant, which would support you for 3 months while you look for a new job or undergo training for new skills. Eligible individuals will receive a monthly cash grant amounting to S$800 a month. To submit your application, you can reach out to any Social Service Office (SSO) or Community Centre in your neighbourhood.
Who is eligible for the Covid-19 Support Grant?
To qualify for the Covid-19 Support Grant, you should fulfil the following requirements:
You can apply if you lost your permanent or contract job due to Covid-19. However, you must agree to actively search for a new job, or attend a training programme under Workforce Singapore or e2i.
Prior to unemployment, your household income did not exceed S$10,000 a month, or S$3,100 per capita. In addition, the home you live in must have a property annual value under S$21,000.
The Covid-19 Support Grant is open to Singapore Citizen and PRs aged 16 years and above. Those currently receiving ComCare Short-to-Medium Term Assistance (SMTA) or ComCare Interim Assistance are disqualified.
The Courage Fund
The Courage Fund is a Community Chest initiative that aids those who contracted Covid-19, as well their families. These benefits are open to Singapore Citizens and PRs as well as Employment Pass, Work Permit, Dependant's Pass or Long-Term Social Visit Pass holders. The fund also extends to Singapore citizen/PR low-income households whose members contracted the coronavirus, or had to serve a quarantine order, stay-home notice or leave of absence.
Who is eligible for the Courage Fund?
The Courage Fund offers financial support to those who were hardest-hit by Covid-19. First, the dependants of those who died from the coronavirus. Next, the heroes in healthcare and on the frontline who contracted the virus. And finally, low-income households who were affected by a quarantine order, stay-home notice, or the coronavirus itself.
Dependants of Covid-19 Victims
Families of those who tested positive for Covid-19 and eventually succumbed to the virus can receive S$10,000 to S$30,000 under the Courage Fund. Dependants may also receive an additional Education Grant to cover tertiary education and living expenses. More information is available at the hospital.
Healthcare & Frontline Workers
Healthcare workers, frontline workers and community volunteers put their lives at risk daily. Those who contracted Covid-19 in the line of duty are eligible for a S$3,000 to S$5,000 payout under the Courage Fund. To apply, fill in the form at www.ncss.gov.sg/thecouragefund
Low-income households (≤S$3,900 a month) with at least 1 member who tested positive for Covid-19, or was placed on a QO/SHN/LOA, and suffered a loss of income. Affected households get S$500 to S$1,000 in financial assistance. To apply, head to any Social Service Office (SSO) within 6 months of the event.
Covid-19 Relief for Self-Employed Persons (SEPs)
The Singapore government has identified self-employed persons (or SEPs) as a particularly vulnerable group - their incomes take a direct hit due to Covid-19. So there are 2 additional schemes to aid SEPs.
SEP Income Relief Scheme (SIRS)
The most important scheme for the self-employed is SIRS, which gives eligible SEPs a cash payout of S$3,000 a month in May, July and October 2020. That makes a total amount of S$9,000, to last for at least the next half a year.
SEP Training Support Scheme
Co-funded by the government and NTUC, this is a training scheme for SEPs which also offers an hourly training allowance to encourage individuals to upskill or re-skill during the Covid-19 period.
SEP Income Relief Scheme (SIRS)
SIRS is a Covid-19 relief scheme that's targeted specifically at self-employed persons or SEPs, whose livelihoods were affected by the coronavirus outbreak. Eligible SEPs will receive S$3,000 in May, July, and October 2020 under SIRS. There are several eligibility criteria to meet, but if you are at least 37 years old and declared your net trade income to IRAS last year, you will be automatically included. Otherwise, you will need to check your eligibility and apply through https://www.ntuc.com.sg/sirs/
Who is eligible for SEP Income Relief Scheme (SIRS)?
To qualify for the SEP Income Relief Scheme, you should fulfill the following requirements:
You are a Self-Employed Person, and started work as a SEP on or before 25 March 2020. Your Net Trade Income does not exceed S$100,000 a year.
If you are both an employee and self-employed worker, you can also apply. Your income from being an employee must not exceed S$2,300 a month.
You home's annual value must not exceed S$21,000, and you do not own more than 1 property. For married SEPs, your spouse's income must not exceed S$70,000.
SEP Training Support Scheme
The SEP Training Support Scheme works hand-in-hand with SIRS. Under this training scheme, you are encouraged to use the Covid-19 downtime to up-/re-skill. SEPs will receive up to $10 per hour training allowance for all courses under SkillsFuture and other sector-specific training courses. Once you complete the course, you just need to submit your Training Certification Slip to obtain endorsement from the Training Provider (TP) or Institute of Higher Learning (IHL) within 30 days to claim your allowance.
More SEP Resources
Head over to our special resource page created just for SEPs. Here's everything you need to know about surviving Covid-19 as a self-employed person, from the details of the Covid-19 relief schemes to tips on improving your cashflow.
Covid-19 Relief for Businesses
As everyone knows, Covid-19 has been really bad for businesses big and small. It goes beyond just the tourism and aviation industries: Practically every sector, from food & beverage to finance, is affected. In a bid to help these businesses through a tough financial situation - and to save jobs - the government has a number of Covid-19 relief schemes. They can broadly be grouped into 2 types:
Cash Flow Assistance
These comprise co-funding schemes, fee waivers, tax rebates, and so on - to reduce the outgoing costs that businesses face. The Jobs Support Scheme, where the government co-funds local employee salaries, is the best example of this type of Covid-19 assistance.
Business Loan Schemes
Despite the abovementioned assistance schemes, many businesses still face cash flow issues. So to support companies during this challenging period, the government has allocated S$20 billion in loan capital, to be disbursed under various business loan schemes.
Jobs Support Scheme (JSS)
Under the Jobs Support Scheme (JSS), the government will co-fund the first $4,600 of each local employee’s gross monthly income, for 9 months. This is meant to help with cashflow and to encourage employers to keep their staff employed. The support for employers will vary depending on sector:
Aviation & Tourism
The aviation and tourism will receive 75% co-funding for the first $4,600 gross monthly income of each local employee.
Food & Beverage
The F&B sector will be given 50% support for the first $4,600 gross monthly income of each local employee.
All Other Sectors
All other sectors will receive 25% co-funding for the first $4,600 gross monthly income of each local employee.
Other Support to Help Businesses Get Through Covid-19
Enhanced Enterprise Financing Scheme (EEFS)
- To help enterprises with their trade financing needs, the maximum loan quantum has been increased to $10 million. Moreover, the government’s risk-share has been raised from 70% to 80%.
Loan Insurance Scheme
- Enterprises that secure short-term trade financing loans via the Loan Insurance Scheme will receive 80% in subsidies (previously 50%) from the government.
Expanded Temporary Bridging Loan Programme
- Under the Expanded Temporary Bridging Loan Programme, eligible enterprises can borrow up to $5 million from participating financial institutions. The interest rate will be capped at 5% p.a.
Enhanced EFS-SME Working Capital Loan
- To help SMEs with their working capital needs, the maximum loan quantum has been increased from $300,000 to 1 million. Moreover, the government’s risk-share was also raised to 90% (previously 50% and 70% for young companies).
Deferred Capital Payments
- Companies facing difficulties with their capital payments may request for a 1-year deferment on their EFS-Working Capital Loan and the Temporary Bridging Loan Programme.
Enhanced Property Tax Rebate
- For 2020, businesses such as hotels, serviced apartments, tourist attractions, shops, and restaurants will pay no Property Tax, while other businesses in non-residential properties will receive a property tax rebate of 30%.
Hawker Stall Rental Waivers
- Stalls in hawker centres managed by the National Environment Agency (NEA) or operators recognised by NEA will get a 3-month rental waiver.
Freeze on Government Fees
- Fees and charges for services provided by the government will not be increased until 31 March 2021. Examples of these fees and charges are school fees, HDB carpark charges, and NEA inspection fees, among others.
What If You Still Need More Cash?
Not everyone in Singapore qualifies for the government assistance schemes here. If you find yourself in need of a personal loan for extra cash, find the right loan package for your needs and income level with MoneySmart's personal loan calculator.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where can I find the latest on Covid-19 relief schemes?
- The government has been extremely responsive in dealing with the Covid-19 crisis in Singapore. To see if there are any updates, such as new schemes, extensions to deadlines, or changes to the eligibility criteria, we recommend checking on www.gov.sg.
What if I narrowly miss the eligibility criteria?
- The Covid-19 relief schemes have cut-offs for household income and property value to ensure that the funds go to those who are the most needy among us. But if you narrowly miss the qualifying criteria, you can submit an appeal through the respective fund/scheme's website or hotline.
Do foreigners qualify for any of these Covid-19 relief schemes?
- Unfortunately, the majority of the Covid-19 relief schemes are for Singapore citizens and PRs, except for certain payouts under the Courage Fund. Foreigners can check the Singapore embassies of their home countries to see if they can help. If you are a foreigner in grave need of financial help, speak to your local MP or Social Service Office to explore the options.
The MoneySmart Covid-19 Survival Guide
Apart from getting financial aid from these Covid-19 relief schemes, what else can you do to get through this? Head over to our main Covid-19 resource hub to get practical advice on the circuit breaker, dealing with debt, and how to make the most of your personal finances during the coronavirus period.