NTUC resuming Covid-19 assistance fund with expanded eligibility criteria

NTUC Secretary-General Ng Chee Meng speaks to a beneficiary of the NTUC Care Fund (Covid-19) on Nov 16, 2020. PHOTO: NG CHEE MENG/FACEBOOK

SINGAPORE - The National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) is reopening applications for its fund meant to assist members affected by the Covid-19 pandemic with a cash relief of up to $300. It is also expanding the eligibility criteria for its fund beneficiaries.

The enhanced NTUC Care Fund (Covid-19) will use the remaining $17 million of the initial $25 million set aside for it, said NTUC on Thursday (Nov 19) .

The first exercise, which opened for applications from March 25 to Sept 30, supported about 30,000 union members with a total payout of around $8 million.

Among the beneficiaries in the first exercise was bowling coach Lynda Walter, who had been badly affected when co-curricular activities stopped due to safe-distancing measures.

As a single parent caring for her 21-year-old son who has Down Syndrome, the fund helped support her during the circuit breaker period.

"In April, everything was at a standstill, so the NTUC Care Fund helped me survive," said Madam Walter, 53.

About 65,000 union members are expected to benefit from these one-off payouts ranging from $50 to $300.

Among the revised criteria is a cap raise of the gross monthly personal income (GPI) for applicants and allowing those who have received retrenchment benefits of more than $6,500 to apply.

Those living with dependants in the same household and whose monthly GPI is no more than $4,500, and members without dependants in the same household with a monthly GPI of up to $1,600 are now eligible to apply to the fund for assistance.

Individuals whose salary and employment have been affected because of Covid-19-related reasons can also apply. More details are on the NTUC website.

Applications for the enhanced assistance programme will open from Nov 23 to Feb 28, 2021.

Applicants who were successful and those who were not during the first round of applications can apply for a payout if their union membership is still valid.

They will be notified through SMS.

Members who applied successfully in the first round will receive their payouts by early December.

New members are required to have a minimum of one-month paid membership fees before a payout is made.

NTUC also announced that its annual Back to School Fair will take place virtually from Dec 7 to Jan 7.

The month-long event features promotions and discounts on school-related items.

Lauding the two programmes, NTUC secretary-general Ng Chee Meng said: "Together with job and employment support that we continue to offer members, I am certain we can all emerge stronger out of this crisis towards the new normal."

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