Applications for a one-time payout of up to S$700 for lower- to middle-income workers, including those who are self-employed, who were financially affected by the heightened COVID-19 restrictions will be closing on 2 July.
The temporary COVID-19 Recovery Grant (CRG-T), announced by the Ministry of Finance (MOF) on 28 May, was introduced to help eligible workers were placed on involuntary no-pay leave for at least one month between 16 May to 30 June, or those who have suffered a loss of at least 50% of their income for at least a month over the same period.
The Ministry had explained that the grant forms part of the S$800 million support package rolled out to assist businesses and individuals during the heightened alert period which kicked in on 16 May.
The grant was introduced to help workers in the food and beverage, retail, and sports and fitness sectors which have been drastically affected by the heightened restrictions.
Under the grant, eligible workers who have experienced a significant loss of income could receive a one-time payout of up to S$500, while those who were placed on involuntary no-pay leave could receive a one-time payout of up to S$700.
Applications for the grant is open until 2 July.
The scheme is open to Singaporean citizens or permanent residents aged 21 years. Other criteria include a household income of not more than S$7,200 or per capita household income of not more than S$2,600 prior to job/income loss or being put on no-pay leave.
Further eligibility requirements as well as the application link can be found on the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) website.
During a press conference in late May, Minister of Finance Lawrence Wong explained that the CRG-T is “piggybacking” on the existing COVID-19 Recovery Grant (CRG) introduced on 18 January. The temporary scheme, however, comes with different conditions specific to the heightened alert situation.
“So this is temporary, it’s meant for this particular period. After that we will continue with the regular CRG scheme,” Mr Wong said.
In March, the MSF said that the CRG has supported over 10,000 people in Singapore, having disbursed around S$10 million as of 22 March.
Additional help was also extended to polytechnic and autonomous university graduates who have to repay student loans, the MOF said, noting the Ministry of Education (MOE)’s suspension of loan repayments and interest charges until 30 September 2021.
With the extension, neither standard nor penalty interest will be levied on any outstanding loan for the extended period, including tuition fee loans, study loans overseas student program loans. These are all government loans and were granted automatic extensions.
Previously, loan repayments and interest charges for such loans were suspended for a year from 1 June 2020 to 31 May 2021.
MOF noted that this extension found allow graduates more time to stabilise themselves financially and plan their finances.
During the press conference in May, Mr Wong had also noted that there is scope for a further extension of the loan repayment suspension but added that it would depend on the state of the outbreak and whether the economy can recover.
“Before the latest round of heightened alert measures, the economic outlook was improving… and if you look at the employment prospects for fresh graduates, it was also improving,” said Mr Wong.
“But given the latest situation, the uncertainty that the new strains have posed not just to Singapore but also to the global economy… we discussed with MOE and decided that we would give a short extension,” he added.
Mr Wong continued: “If the situation indeed does improve, and this current outbreak proves to be temporary, we get back to our recovery trajectory and the external economy remains strong, then I think September should be a reasonable timeframe.
“But if things were to worsen, be it on the external front or even within Singapore in terms of our own growth trajectory, then, of course, we will be prepared to reconsider and see if further extensions are needed.”