$74m of Covid Recovery Grant given out since 2021, no plans yet to extend scheme after December, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

$74m of Covid Recovery Grant given out since 2021, no plans yet to extend scheme after December

A total of $74 million has been given out through the Covid-19 Recovery Grant to about 30,000 beneficiaries since its launch in January 2021.

While there are no current plans to extend the scheme after December 2022, the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) said it will continue to monitor the economic situation in the coming months.

The scheme provides temporary financial support to workers in lower- to middle-income households who experienced involuntary job loss, involuntary no-pay leave or income loss due to the economic impact of the pandemic.

In response to queries from The Straits Times, MSF said that the application window for the grant, which was previously set to close in December 2021, has been extended to December 2022.

It also increased the maximum number of grant tranches that eligible individuals can receive from two to three tranches.

About 1,135 beneficiaries are still receiving assistance from the grant.

One of them, who wanted to be known only as Madam Rose, got aid from the Covid-19 Recovery Grant a few times over the past two years.

She received $460 per month from July 2022 to September 2022 as her income from managing tuition services for secondary school children was reduced by at least 50 per cent from March to May this year.

In 2021, she got $260 per month from October to December, and $500 from the Covid-19 Recovery Grant - Temporary in June.

The 62-year-old lives in a four-room flat with her husband and daughter, and said they were hit hard during the Covid-19 pandemic.

She said before the pandemic she could earn close to $2,000 to $3,000 a month from managing the tuition centre.

Since business was affected during the pandemic, she has found it harder to get students and earns only a few hundred dollars a month.

She said that business was affected because fewer parents were willing to commit to online tuition, and there were also fewer international students in Singapore seeking tutors.

"We used to get a lot of international students looking for tutors. They all went back home during the pandemic. Now, it's hard to get business to go back to the way it was.

"When we could operate through Zoom, it was a challenge too because a lot of students did not turn up for lessons, and thus we don't get paid for the session."

She added that her husband, 73, found it hard to get re-employed due to his age, and now works as Grab driver.

He lost his job as a software engineer during the pandemic.

She said the money she received from the grant helped her to advertise her tuition centre to hopefully attract more parents and students and get business going once more.

Learning that there were no plans for the grant to be extended, she was a bit disheartened.

She said: "It has helped me quite a bit when times are hard. If it is no longer available, I will need to get help in other ways. But I'm sure if the Government sees there are still people like us who need help, it will happen one way or the other."