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Solidarity Budget: Singaporeans to receive $600 Solidarity Payment, more help for self-employed

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DPM Heng Swee Keat announced a third wave of support for Singaporeans, called the Solidarity Budget.

On Monday (Apr 6), Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat announced a third wave of support measures to help Singaporeans through the COVID-19 situation

All Singaporeans aged 21 and above will receive a one-off $600 cash payout from the government, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat announced on Monday (Apr 6).

DPM Heng, who is also the Minister of Finance, termed it as a Solidarity Payment. It is part of the third wave of support measures to help Singaporeans through the COVID-19 situation, which he called the Solidarity Budget.

The Solidarity Payment will be credited to bank accounts by Apr 14. For those who did not provide their bank account details to the government, they will receive their payment by cheque, to be issued from Apr 30.

Other cash payouts that are part of the Care and Support Package announced earlier, such as the $300 payout for each parent with at least one child age 20 or below, will be brought forward from August to June.

The Solidarity Budget will cost $5.1 billion in total. President Halimah Yacob has given in-principle support to draw $4 billion from the past reserves.

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The Solidarity Budget will also see more self-employed persons receive direct cash assistance from the government.

DPM Heng said that the government will include those who earn a small income from employment work. The annual value threshold will also be raised from up to $13,000 to $21,000. This is done to include those who live in condominiums and private properties.

With these enhancements, about 100,000 self-employed persons will be eligible for the Self-Employed Person Income Scheme (SIRS) that was announced in the Resilience Budget previously. The three payments of about $3,000 will start from May.

Aaron Ng, a 28-year-old F&B manager, welcomed the news: "For us self-employed freelancers, anything extra from the government is a good thing. At the moment, I'm relying on doing courier services to bring in the needed income.

"Hopefully, this doesn't go on for more than one or two months. If not, more help from the government will be needed by us freelancers."

It was also announced that the government will subsidise 75 per cent of gross monthly wages, for local employees in April, capped at $3,450 per employee. The First Jobs Support Scheme will be brought forward from May to April as well.

Singaporeans who wish to donate their cash payouts to those that need them more can do so on the Giving.sg website, or the Community Chest's Courage fund.

Assistant professor Walid Jumblatt Abdullah is one of those who plans to do so.

The 35-year-old told Youth.SG that he believes "the fortunate in society must always do more for those who are not so lucky".

"In these tumultuous times, the need is accentuated. Not everyone benefits equally from the cash payout. Those who do not need it, should give it to those who do,” he said.

Seha Saifuddin, a 23-year-old student and freelancer, said that the $600 payout will help plenty with her bills and daily necessities.

She added: "The COVID-19 situation has made it very tight for my family and I. All of my [production] projects have been postponed. The money that I've earned from pre-production work is what I've been using for day-to-day life and I have to make it last. At the moment, it's still manageable, but finances are very tight."

"My family and I have been applying for any help we can, because at this rate, any form of assistance will be helpful to us. It's still worrying though. How long can the assistance last if this situation persists?"

BANNER AND TEASER PHOTO CREDIT: FACEBOOK/HENG SWEE KEAT

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