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About S$1.8 billion paid out to 200,000 self-employed people under COVID-19 relief scheme

About S$1.8 billion paid out to 200,000 self-employed people under COVID-19 relief scheme

Pedestrians wearing protective face masks along Orchard Road in Singapore on Sep 4, 2020. (File photo: Marcus Mark Ramos)

SINGAPORE: The Self-Employed Person Income Relief Scheme (SIRS) paid out about S$1.8 billion to nearly 200,000 eligible individuals between April and December this year, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) said on Wednesday (Dec 16).

The scheme - aimed at supporting the self-employed through the COVID-19 pandemic - provides three cash payouts of S$3,000 each to self-employed people with less means and family support.

The bulk of the payouts were disbursed quarterly in May, July and October. Payments were progressively made depending on when applications for the scheme were submitted, NTUC said on its website.

READ: Commentary - Phase 3 will bring us much-needed closure to a difficult year

SIRS, which draws to a close at the end of the year, was first announced in March as part of the Government’s third Budget

More than half of the SIRS beneficiaries were automatically eligible, while the rest successfully applied for the scheme, MOM and the trade union said in a joint press release. Seven out of 10 applications processed by NTUC were approved.

“We have exercised flexibility in the qualifying criteria to support more SEPs (self-employed persons),” the organisations said.

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Rejected applications included applicants earning much higher incomes, residing in high value properties or owning two or more properties with their spouses. Some applicants could not provide evidence that they were self-employed.

SIRS payouts will cover affected self-employed people until the end of December, with applications closing on Dec 31.

Separately, two new financial support schemes for 2021 - the COVID-19 Recovery Grant and the COVID-19 Driver Relief Fund for taxi and private-hire car drivers - were announced on Wednesday.

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Source: CNA/aj

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