As part of the Solidarity Budget, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat announced on Monday (Apr. 6) that the government will be enhancing the previously-announced Self-Employed Person Income Relief Scheme (SIRS).
With the enhancements, a total of around 100,000 self-employed people will automatically be eligible for the scheme, he said, and will receive three payments of S$3,000, starting from May of this year.
Enhancements to include more people
The two enhancements announced by Heng are:
- SIRS will be extended to automatically include self-employed people who also earn a small income from employment work.
- The Annual Value threshold will be increased from up to S$13,000 to up to S$21,000.
Previously, the eligibility criteria for SIRS was that individuals could not also earn income as an employee, and that they needed to live in a property with an annual value of no more than S$13,000.
However, Heng said that he had received feedback from some affected groups of self-employed people.
One group of self-employed people also engage in some employment work, in order to supplement their incomes.
Another group, he said, may have bought an executive condominium years ago, but still have had their income severely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic while still needing to support their families' daily needs and medical bills.
Heng also reiterated that those who do not need the additional support and who do not qualify for the scheme should not appeal for and abuse the support, lest they "undermine public confidence and take up unnecessary resources."
"In these extraordinary times, many such self-employed persons are hard-hit. I hope that by our helping them, they too can help others in their networks, and their workers, and we keep the spirit of enterprise alive", Heng said.
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