1 I will address Ms Denise Phua's question on the eligibility criteria for
the COVID-19 Support Grant (CSG) in this reply, as well as the question
by Mr Liang Eng Hwa, which was filed for tomorrow.
2 The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the livelihoods of many
Singaporeans, causing job and income loss. CSG was initially designed
to support lower- to middle-income households facing unemployment, due
to retrenchment or contract termination after 23 Jan 2020, when the first
case of COVID-19 was detected in Singapore. Ms Denise Phua asks
whether persons are eligible for CSG if they have not met the required
eligibility of three full months of unemployment. Let me clarify that for
applicants in this group, there is no requirement for them to be
unemployed for three months before applying.
3 Beyond supporting those who are unemployed, MSF has expanded
the scheme to help employees who have been placed on involuntary no
pay-leave (NPL) for three or more consecutive months, as well as those
who have lost at least 30 per cent of their monthly salary for three or more
consecutive months. The 'three or more consecutive months' requirement
for NPL and income loss scenarios is to ensure that help is channelled to
those who have greater needs.
4 Affected employees need not wait till they are affected for three
consecutive months to apply. They are eligible for CSG now if they provide
supporting documents, such as a letter from their employer, showing that they will be affected for at least three consecutive months. Individuals who
are ineligible for CSG but require further support can apply for ComCare
5 Those who are receiving ComCare assistance are not eligible for
CSG. ComCare provides monthly cash assistance to low-income
households who need help to cover their daily living expenses, including
food and other basic living needs. ComCare also provides assistance with
household bills and medical expenses. Based on the families' needs and
circumstances, MSF's Social Service Offices (SSOs) also facilitate their
access to other relevant services and support by government agencies
and community partners.
6 To further assist ComCare beneficiaries, those whose assistance
would end between May and July 2020 have had their support
automatically extended for a further six months. ComCare beneficiaries
are invited to approach the SSOs for a review of their current support if
their circumstances have changed, for instance, if they have lost their jobs
or faced a reduction in income because of the COVID-19 situation. While
reviewing their ComCare support, SSOs can also provide them with
interim assistance if they have urgent financial needs.
7 Those who are newly placed on ComCare will receive at least six
months of assistance, providing them with a longer runway to regain
8 The Government will continue to review how we can better support
those who have been adversely impacted due to COVID-19.