Coronavirus: NTUC website for self-employed income relief applications back online after system upgrade to handle flood of requests

The site had been down for several hours on April 27, 2020.
The site had been down for several hours on April 27, 2020.PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM NTUC.COM.SG

SINGAPORE - Online applications for the Self-Employed Person Income Relief Scheme (Sirs), which are made through the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) website, reopened at around 7.30pm on Tuesday (April 28) after the page was taken offline for most of the day to upgrade its system.

Users had problems accessing the site on Monday due to a “massive surge in applications”, although NTUC said it had anticipated high traffic and had prepared for this scenario.

NTUC secretary-general Ng Chee Meng said  in a Facebook post on Tuesday that measures are in place “to limit the number of people who can enter the application system at any one point in time”.

This means that when traffic is high, users will not be able to enter the application system until an applicant has completed the process and signed out.

Mr Ng thanked users for their patience and added that the team was still in the midst of improving the system so that more applicants could access it at any point in time.

At 8pm on Tuesday, when The Straits Times visited the website, a pop-up message stated that the application system was at full capacity, and that users should come back later. The Sirs application system is available from 9am to 9pm daily.

Those eligible for Sirs will receive three quarterly cash payouts of $3,000 each.

In comments left on NTUC’s Facebook page, many users expressed their anxieties after being unable to enter the site, or complete their applications.

Freelance graphic designer Ayden Ng, 32, was worried that he may not have enough immediate funds while awaiting the Sirs payouts. He designs mainly for events, most of which have been cancelled or postponed.

 
 
 

“It seems that NTUC takes around 1-1/2 months to process the first payout, which is daunting to hear. I don’t wish to reach a stage where I need to seek help from community services,” he said.

He received a $500 payout from the Temporary Relief Fund, which has helped to tide him through this month, and he is now looking for part-time work.

Those who automatically qualified for Sirs based on the Government’s eligibility criteria will receive three quarterly cash payouts in end-May, July and October.

For those who do not automatically qualify, NTUC said there is no closing date for applications at the moment.

Those who are eligible for the scheme will also receive payments in three tranches, regardless of when the user submits his application, it added.

For instance, if an application is submitted on June 1, the first payout will be received in the first half of July, the second payout at the end of July, and the third payout at the end of October.