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Cut Reply Speech by Assoc Prof Dr Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim at the Second Supplementary Estimates Committee Of Supply

1   The COVID-19 Support Grant (CSG) supports lower- to middle-income Singaporeans or Permanent Residents who, as a result of the economic impact of COVID-19, are presently:

• Involuntarily unemployed due to retrenchment or contract termination;

• Placed on involuntary no-pay leave (NPL) for at least three consecutive months; or

• Experiencing reduced monthly salary of at least 30 per cent for at least three consecutive months.

2   While MSF provides support for affected employees through CSG, employees are also supported through the Jobs Support Scheme. SEPs are mainly supported through the SEP Income Relief Scheme (SIRS).

3   Employees who have lost their jobs can apply for CSG immediately without waiting for three months.

4   Employees who are placed on involuntary NPL or experiencing reduced monthly salary need not wait till they are affected for three consecutive months to apply. They are eligible for CSG if their NPL or salary loss has already started, and they provide supporting documents, such as a letter from their employer, showing that the involuntary NPL or salary reduction will be for at least three consecutive months.

5   The 'three or more consecutive months' requirement for involuntary NPL and salary loss scenarios is to ensure that help is channelled to those who have greater needs.

6   Daily-rated and ad-hoc workers may qualify for CSG if they meet the eligibility criteria. Workers who do not have employment contracts due to the nature of their work may approach their nearest Social Service Offices (SSOs) to make a self-declaration on their employment status. This includes daily-rated and ad-hoc workers. SSOs will undertake further checks against applicant's past CPF records and facilitate their CSG application if they qualify. Individuals eligible for CSG and without bank accounts can approach SSOs for assistance.

7   Those who are ineligible for CSG and are in financial need can apply for ComCare, which provides financial assistance for basic living expenses and other support such as household bill expenses and medical expenses. In general, those who are newly placed on ComCare will receive at least six months of assistance which provides them with a longer runway to regain stability.

8   For those with urgent financial needs, SSOs, grassroots organisations, and Family Service Centres can provide them with ComCare Interim Assistance.

9   ComCare Short-to-Medium-Term Assistance and Interim Assistance have income eligibility criteria of a monthly household income of $1900 and below or per capita household income of $650 and below. These are not hard thresholds and each case is considered on its own merit. Supporting documents including bank statements and payslips enable SSOs to accurately assess the applicants' circumstances, savings and needs. SSOs exercise flexibility as needed to provide the necessary financial assistance and social support. SSOs can conduct their interviews and assessments electronically, and applicants can submit their supporting documents via email.

10   While CSG is open for applications from May 2020 till September 2020, the Government will continue to review our support schemes for those who need help, taking into account how the COVID-19 situation evolves. 

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