More financial aid for lower-income Singapore households hit by Covid-19

More households in Singapore are also expected to qualify for payouts with the easing of the eligibility criteria. - The Straits Times/ANN

SINGAPORE, Aug 1 (The Straits Times/ANN): Lower-income households that have been directly affected by Covid-19 can now get additional financial support through a fund.

More households are also expected to qualify for payouts, with the easing of the eligibility criteria allowing for an assessment of their current income instead of their income prior to being affected by Covid-19.

These changes to The Courage Fund take effect on Sunday (Aug 1), said the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) and the National Council of Social Service (NCSS).

The fund currently disburses a one-time payout of up to $1,000 to help lower-income households whose incomes have been directly affected by Covid-19.

These comprise households that have a member who contracted the coronavirus or is placed on quarantine, stay-home notice, or leave of absence.

As at July 13, about 2,300 households had tapped the fund.

MSF and NCSS said that with the changes, households that have been directly affected by Covid-19 more than once and continue to face job or income loss will be able to get two tranches of assistance.

Households that currently have a gross monthly income of $6,200 or below, or a current gross per capita monthly income of $2,000 and below, will be able to qualify, should they meet other existing eligibility criteria.

This is in contrast with the previous requirement, which assessed applicants based on their income before they were affected by Covid-19.

Minister for Social and Family Development Masagos Zulkifli said: "As the impact of Covid-19 remains protracted, we recognise there may be households that have had to serve quarantine orders, stay-home notices, or leave of absence more than once.

"This would hit lower-income households harder, as they deal with the anxiety of financial loss on top of the fear of potentially contracting the virus."

Masagos said the authorities hope that the improvements to the fund will help affected households get back on their feet more quickly.

The Courage Fund was established in 2003 when Singapore was hit by the severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) outbreak. Public donations then were used to support Sars victims, healthcare workers and their dependants.

Last year, following the Covid-19 outbreak, the Community Chest sought donations for the fund once again to support those affected by the coronavirus.

Other than helping lower-income households affected by Covid-19, the fund also helps dependants of individuals who have succumbed to Covid-19.

Healthcare workers, front-line workers and community volunteers who contracted Covid-19 during their work or have contributed to the national response against Covid-19 can also tap the fund. - THe Straits Times/ANN
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Singapore , More Households , Covid-19 , Govt , Help , Assistance


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