4 June 2020
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 assistance.
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 stability.
8 The Government will continue to review how we can better support those who have been adversely impacted due to COVID-19.