All Singaporeans aged 21 and above will now receive a one-time payout of $600, said Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat yesterday, as the Government once again enhanced a payout to help households cope with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
This is the second time it has topped up the amount.
In February, the Government announced payouts of between $100 and $300 for every adult Singaporean, which were tripled last month to between $300 and $900, due to be distributed from August to September.
Yesterday, Mr Heng, who is also Finance Minister, announced that $300 of that payment has been brought forward to this month and supplemented with a further $300 to form what will be called the Solidarity Payment.
Mr Heng said the additional payments announced yesterday will cost the Government an extra $1.1 billion.
The rest of the payments will be made in June. All adult Singaporeans will thus receive $600 from this month, with those who qualify for more receiving a further $300 or $600 in June.
The $300 payout for each parent with at least one child aged 20 and below, and the $100 PAssion Card top-up for Singaporeans aged 50 and above this year have also been brought forward to June. The top-up will be given in cash to avoid the need for people to queue at top-up stations.
For the majority of Singaporeans who have provided their bank account details to the Government, the Solidarity Payment will be credited directly into their bank accounts by April 14, said Mr Heng.
The rest will receive the payment by cheque, to be issued in stages later, starting from April 30. Eligible citizens will be notified of their payment via SMS from April 15.
Not everyone will need these cash payouts, Mr Heng noted.
"I am very encouraged that many have written to me, my ministerial colleagues and MPs that they do not need the cash payouts, and suggested that we give these to those who need the cash more. I thank fellow Singaporeans for your thoughtfulness," he said.
He urged those who can to donate to charities on the Giving.sg website or the Community Chest's Courage Fund, or to share it directly with others.
Others who still need support can approach the social service offices and community centres to apply for new schemes such as the Temporary Relief Fund and the upcoming Covid-19 Support Grant, as well as existing ComCare schemes.
The Temporary Relief Fund, which is now open for applications, will give a one-time cash grant of $500 to those who have lost their jobs or income because of the coronavirus outbreak. The Covid-19 Support Grant, which will open for application next month, will provide longer-term financial aid and job support.
Mr Heng also urged Singaporeans to provide emotional and mental health support to their fellow citizens. He noted that the Ministry of Social and Family Development has announced that it will set up a National Care hotline to help anyone facing stress or anxiety over the Covid-19 pandemic.
"In this time of need, I am glad that mental health professionals and trained volunteers have stepped forward to offer their help in setting up the new hotline," said Mr Heng.