Dr Shahira Abdullah asked the Minister for Social and Family Development whether the eligibility for the COVID-19 Recovery Grant can be modified from the current percentage-based model to an absolute loss of income for low-wage workers.
1. The COVID-19 Recovery Grant (CRG) supports lower- to middle-income resident employees and self-employed persons who, as a result of the economic impact of COVID-19, are:
• Involuntarily unemployed due to retrenchment or contract termination;
• Placed on involuntary No-Pay Leave (NPL) for at least three consecutive months; or
• Experiencing monthly salary loss or net trade income loss of at least 50% on average for at least three consecutive months
2. CRG is intended to target support at those with lesser means and who are significantly impacted by COVID-19. Compared to an absolute income loss criterion, the percentage-based income loss criterion allows us to better target help to individuals in financial difficulty due to loss of a significant proportion of their income, regardless of their absolute income loss. The percentage-based income loss criterion is more advantageous for lower income workers because workers with higher income must experience a larger absolute income loss to qualify for CRG assistance.
3. We recognise that there may be some who do not meet the CRG eligibility criteria but are in need of assistance due to extenuating circumstances. We encourage those facing financial difficulties to approach our Social Service Offices (SSOs). Our SSOs will assess their needs and circumstances and provide other assistance such as ComCare if they are eligible, or link them up with other forms of community support.