SINGAPORE: Around 88,000 people will automatically benefit from a new income relief scheme introduced to tide self-employed workers over the current period of uncertainty, said the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) on Friday (Mar 27).
Earlier on Friday, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said the Government would do all it could to stabilise the economy, as well as save jobs and businesses amid the "grave" challenge faced by Singapore due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
In a press release, MOM said it would introduce a Self-Employed Person (SEP) Income Relief Scheme to support eligible self-employed workers "with less means".
READ: Government doing all it can to stabilise economy, save jobs and businesses amid COVID-19 - PM Lee
The ministry said currently, about 50,000 SEPs receive Workfare payouts annually. These people will be eligible for the new scheme.
"Due to the extraordinary circumstances brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, we have broadened the eligibility criteria beyond Workfare to enable more SEPs to qualify. As a result, (the scheme) is expected to automatically benefit about 88,000 SEPs," said MOM.
That criteria that self-employed Singaporean workers have to meet to qualify are:
- Started work as a self-employed person on or before Mar 25, 2020
- Do not also earn income as an employee
- Earn a net trade income of no more than S$100,000
- Live in a property with an annual value of no more than S$13,000
- Do not own two or more properties
SEPs who are married must not own two or more properties with their spouse and neither their assessable income nor their spouse's can exceed S$70,000.
Singaporean SEPs aged 37 and above in 2020 and who declared positive SEP income to the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore or CPF Board for the work year 2018 do not need to apply, said MOM. They will be automatically notified of their eligibility via letter and SMS, and will receive the first scheme payout in May.
Other eligible persons may apply for the income relief scheme, MOM said.
The ministry will release more details on the application process on a later date.