COVID-19: Around 60,000 applications received for Temporary Relief Fund – Desmond Lee

Nicholas Yong
Assistant News Editor
Minister for Social and Family Development Desmond Lee speaking at a multi-ministry taskforce press conference on Friday (3 April). (PHOTO: CNA screengrab)

SINGAPORE — Around 60,000 people in Singapore have applied for the Temporary Relief Fund (TRF), which provides urgent financial assistance for those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, since it was launched on Wednesday (1 April).

“My colleagues at the SSOs (social service organisations) and CCs (community centres) under the People’s Association are working hard to get affected Singaporeans the support they need,” said Minister for Social and Family Development Desmond Lee during a COVID-19 multi-ministry taskforce virtual press conference on Friday.

The TRF provides low- and middle-income Singaporeans and permanent residents with a one-off cash sum of $500 to assist those who are facing financial difficulties due to the pandemic. It was announced in Parliament by Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat on 27 March as part of the Resilience Budget meant to help those affected by the COVID-19 crisis.

Lee noted that TRF applications are open until 30 April and that there is “no need to rush”.

During the same press conference, the taskforce announced a number of “circuit breaker” measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in Singapore, including the month-long closure of most physical workplaces not involved in essential services from 7 April until 4 May.

Lee noted, however, that SSOs and CCs would remain open during this period so Singaporeans in need can continue to receive social and financial assistance, with the “appropriate safe-distancing measures put in place”.

“These include the TRF, the COVID-19 Support Grant as well as other ComCare assistance schemes,” he added.

Some measures to be taken to ensure social distancing is practised during TRF applications include the launch of an online application form in the second week of April.

Those who still feel the need to apply for the TRF in person can visit SSOs and CCs to obtain the forms, which can be filled out at home and later dropped off in a designated box. On-site assistance would also be available for those looking to apply, said Lee.

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