Singapore

Covid-19 Support Grant extended, more qualify for Workfare scheme

A grant that helps Singapore residents who have lost their jobs or suffered significant income loss due to the pandemic will be extended till December.

Applications for the Covid-19 Support Grant, which provides up to $800 a month for three months, opened in May and were initially due to close after Sept 30.

Announcing the extension in a ministerial statement yesterday, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat said the scheme has disbursed more than $90 million to more than 60,000 residents so far.

To qualify for the grant, unemployed applicants must demonstrate job search or training efforts, among other things.

Existing recipients of the grant can also apply to renew their support for another three months, if they remain eligible.

The Ministry of Social and Family Development will announce details early next month, said Mr Heng, who is also Finance Minister.

He noted that Singapore's labour market is likely to remain weak beyond this year, while observers have said that more retrenchments are expected in the coming months.

Said Mr Heng: "We are studying how to continue supporting employees and self-employed persons who are most vulnerable."

Another group that Singapore has to look out for is low-wage workers, he added.

He announced that more workers will be eligible for the Workfare Special Payment, a $3,000 cash payout that will benefit lower-income workers.

Currently, those on the Workfare Income Supplement (WIS) scheme for work done last year are eligible for the payout.

Going forward, those who were not on WIS last year but who have received or will be receiving WIS for work done this year, can also qualify.

The WIS tops up the salaries of lower-income Singaporeans. Enhancements to the scheme kicked in this year, with the qualifying income cap raised to $2,300 per month.

Among other criteria, those aged 35 and above can qualify for WIS.

Each eligible individual can qualify for and receive the $3,000 payment only once.

This payment is being given in two equal parts - last month and in October - to workers who were eligible for WIS for their work done last year.

Those who received WIS for work done this year will receive the $3,000 payout from October.

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