SINGAPORE - About 28,000 lower-income workers can apply for a payout worth up to $150 under a National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) aid package to defray daily expenses amid higher inflation.
Eligibility for the nearly $3.7 million NTUC Care Fund (Special Assistance) Programme, as well as the payout amount, will depend on both a person's income and whether the applicant - who must be a union member - is living with family or not.
Those who live with family members and have either a monthly gross household income of $3,400, including overtime and allowances, or per capita income of $850 and below, will get $150.
Those who do not live with family members will get $60, if their monthly personal gross income is $1,500 and below, including overtime and allowances.
Applicants must also not be in arrears for membership fees and have at least six months of continuous paid-up union membership.
They can apply from Monday (Aug 22) to Sept 30 at this website.
Successful applicants will receive the cash via bank transfer within 30 days of application.
The financial support comes from the NTUC-U Care Fund, which was set up to consolidate the labour movement's fund-raising efforts. It has disbursed more than $110 million to workers since its launch in 2009.
NTUC deputy secretary-general Desmond Tan unveiled the programme on Saturday morning at an annual education awards ceremony held by the Singapore Industrial and Services Employees' Union (Siseu).
More than 250 students, who are children of Siseu members, received bursary awards at NTUC Centre in Marina Boulevard.
In a speech, Mr Tan, who is also Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office, said: "We hope that this programme, coupled with the government support measures, will go some way to bring relief to our members as we walk this journey with them."
He added that Singapore and its workers have every reason to be proud and confident of their pandemic response, citing media reports of findings from American think-tank Pew Research Centre. The findings, released earlier this month, showed that the majority of Singapore residents feel more united than before the pandemic.
In remarks to the media, he said the cash payout will provide flexibility to recipients over how to offset their cost-of-living pressures.
Ms Ismalinda Mohamed Sidik, a mother of three children aged eight to 16, expressed gratitude for the $150 cash. The senior shipping officer, 46, said: "With two growing teenagers, as well as my youngest child, what we are eating is much more (than before)."
She added that she will use the payout on staples, such as rice and oil, as well as extra pocket money for her children, because meals in school have become more expensive.
Comparing the cash payout to programmes like CDC vouchers which can be spent only at designated shops, she added: "We can go to any place, like (bookstore) Popular, to buy things for school."
Bellhop Ranger Lim, 64, said: "Costs of necessities are on the rise and I am experiencing an increase in household expenses." The divorcee is a father of three children aged 24 to 40.
The member of the Food, Drinks and Allied Workers Union added: "If I am successful in my application, this additional support will be helpful in offsetting some of these higher costs."
Other initiatives from the NTUC-U Care Fund include the NTUC Care Fund (Covid-19) programme, with two tranches in 2020 and 2021 giving out $18.2 million to more than 35,000 members.
The fund has also provided e-vouchers for grocery and school expenses.