SINGAPORE – Lower-income families who have been directly affected by Covid-19 can now get additional financial help from a fund to help them cope with the protracted pandemic that has affected many livelihoods.
More households are also expected to meet the requirements to pay, with the reduction of eligibility criteria to assess their current income rather than income before being affected by Covid-19.
These changes to The Courage Fund went into effect on Sunday (August 1), according to the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) and the National Social Service Council (NCSS).
Currently, the fund will disburse a one-time payment of up to $ 1,000 to help lower-income households whose incomes have been directly affected by Covid-19: those who have a member who has hired Covid-19 or who are in Covid-19. quarantine, notice of residence, or leave of absence. As of July 13, nearly 2,300 households have taken advantage of the fund.
When asked, MSF did not say how many additional homes are expected to benefit from the changes, which come at the back of the last round of hardened Covid-19 restrictions that will last until August 18th.
The ban on food and other restrictions during the first round of the second phase (increased alert) from mid-May to mid-June had affected Singapore’s labor market. Data from the Ministry of Labor (MOM) showed that the number of employed workers fell in the second quarter of this year.
In June, 3.7 percent or 86,600 residents were unemployed, as the pandemic affected both jobs and income.
Workers with lower wages are especially affected by the pandemic, according to MOM data.
On Sunday, MSF and NCSS said households that have been directly affected by Covid-19 more than once and continue to face job or income losses will now be able to get two tranches of assistance.
Households with a current gross monthly income of $ 6,200 or less, or a gross monthly per capita income of $ 2,000 or less, may qualify if they meet other existing eligibility criteria.
Minister of Social and Family Development Masagos Zulkifli said lower-income households are more affected by measures such as quarantine orders, “as they face the anxiety of financial losses, in addition to the fear of potentially contracting the virus “.
The fund complements other support measures, such as ComCare, the Covid-19 Recovery Grant, and the Covid-19 Recovery Grant: Temporary.
It was created in 2003 when Singapore was affected by the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars). Last year, Community Chest again solicited donations for the fund to support those affected by Covid-19 and dependents of those who died from the virus, among others.
As of July 13, the fund had received donations from the community of about $ 18.4 million to help those affected by Covid-19, with about $ 2.7 million disbursed to more than 2,500 beneficiaries.
Associate Professor of Economics at Singapore University of Social Sciences Walter Theseira said Singapore’s social safety nets and employment systems are not designed to deal with a disease that may require a substantial number of people spending extended time on medical leave or quarantine.
“The existence of the fund is to address an issue that should have been addressed by strengthening a national framework for employment-related medical benefits,” he said.
He added that in the future it is likely that official government funding will have to be extended beyond the existing quarantine order compensation scheme for workers who give quarantine orders or stay notices to house.
Seah Kian Peng, Marine Parade GRC MP, who chairs the government’s parliamentary committee for social and family development, welcomes the change to assess applicants ’current incomes, which will make it easier to understand the scheme.
He said disbursements should be much higher in the future, given the improvements.
Meanwhile, Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC MP Yeo Wan Ling said she has received more requests for help from residents and front-line workers who have been affected by quarantine orders.
“For some of our households, especially those that depend on daily self-employment, being in quarantine puts them in a situation where they have a total loss of income or livelihood,” Yeo said.
The fund’s financial support will help these households cover the cost of their daily staples during periods when a member is in quarantine, he added.
Households wishing to apply for funding from the fund can do so through this website.
People who need help completing applications can call the ComCare Call on 1800-222-0000, send an email to [email protected] or make an appointment to visit their social services office. nearest.