COVID-19: Long-term visit pass holders will not be denied financial support, says Heng Swee Keat

COVID-19: Long-term visit pass holders will not be denied financial support, says Heng Swee Keat

People wearing protective masks
People seen wearing masks at Chinatown, Singapore on Mar 11, 2020. (Photo: Gaya Chandramohan)

SINGAPORE: Long-term visit pass holders will not be denied support under the available COVID-19 schemes, said Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat on Monday (May 4). 

Responding to a parliamentary question on whether the S$300 solidarity payment can be extended to long-term visit pass holders who are spouses of Singaporeans, Mr Heng said: “While long-term visit pass holders who are spouses of Singaporeans are not eligible for the solidarity payment, they are able to take up employment to support their families.

“They also receive benefits as part of a Singaporean household, such as GST vouchers, U-save rebates and special payment, and service and conservancy charges rebates.” 

Under the Solidarity Budget announced in early April, all Singaporeans aged 21 and above will receive a one-off cash payment of S$600. 

Adult permanent residents with Singaporean parents, spouses or children will be able to apply for the one-off solidarity payment of S$300. Holders of long-term visit pass-plus, or LTVP+, who have Singaporean spouses can also apply. 

LTVP+ holders are foreign spouses of Singaporeans who have been married for at least three years or have a Singaporean child.

READ: Solidarity Budget: Adult permanent residents with Singaporean family members to receive S$300 cash payout

Mr Heng noted that if long-term pass holders need further financial support during this period, they can seek help through Social Service Offices and apply for assistance. The Government will “exercise more flexibility” when considering Comcare applications during this period to ensure affected Singaporean families can get help, he added. 

“No one will be denied support just because of this particular status.” 

The payout scheme was expanded in response to concerns that some Singaporean families with non-citizen members are not able to tap on measures under the Care and Support package, said Mr Heng. 

There are “different sets of support” for different groups of people according to different criteria, with one being their residential status, he noted. 

“So we need some clear alignment on this and therefore this is a way that we align this with existing schemes that we have. Bear in mind that this support is for a very urgent situation and therefore we have extended it to a wide range and there are already many support schemes.” 

Source: CNA/hw(gs)

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