Oral Answer by Mrs Josephine Teo Minister for Manpower on SIRS
NOTICE PAPER NO. 6 OF 2020 FOR THE SITTING ON 4 SEPTEMBER 2020
QUESTION NO. 46 FOR ORAL ANSWER
MP: Mr Dennis Tan Lip Fong
To ask the Minister for Manpower whether there will be further assistance for the self-employed beyond the Self-Employed Income Relief Scheme (SIRS).
NOTICE PAPER NO. 15 OF 2020 FOR THE SITTING ON 4 SEPTEMBER 2020
QUESTION NO. 52 FOR ORAL ANSWER
MP: Miss Cheng Li Hui
To ask the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance (a) what is the current amount disbursed under the Self-Employed Relief Scheme as compared to its budgetary allocation; (b) whether there are plans for more allocations should the economic outlook remain bleak beyond the next one year; and (c) what are the various reasons for the rejection of appeals under this scheme.
- The Self-Employed Person (SEP) Income Relief Scheme (SIRS) is a means-tested scheme to help Singaporean SEPs with less means and family support to tide over this period of economic uncertainty. Eligible SEPs receive three tranches of $3,000 each in May, July and October 2020.
- The income eligibility criteria for SIRS covered over 80% of Singaporeans with taxable income. The annual value (AV) of housing criteria covered about nine in 10 owner-occupied residential public and private properties. As a proxy for family support, the spouse’s income is also considered.
- Over $1.1 billion has been disbursed in the first two tranches. With the third and final tranche, SIRS is expected to cost $2 billion in total, almost double the original $1.2 billion set aside. This is a significant expansion of an already sizeable programme. Altogether, about 190,000 individuals have received SIRS, with about 100,000 qualifying automatically, and 90,000 through application.
- We have been exercising flexibility in the qualifying criteria to support more SEPs. About two in three applications have been approved. In the remaining one-third, applicants may have been earning much higher incomes, residing in high value properties or own two or more property with their spouses. As SIRS was intended to support SEPs, persons who were previously unemployed or had regular employment were redirected to the Covid-19 Support Grant. Where there were other areas of need, we have referred unsuccessful applicants to the appropriate agencies for follow-up assistance.
- As announced by DPM Heng Swee Keat in his Ministerial Statement on 17 August 2020, the Government is studying appropriate ways to support employees and SEPs who are most vulnerable, beyond existing schemes.