Self-employed income relief expected to cost S$2b in total, above original S$1.2b estimate

THE Self-Employed Person Income Relief Scheme is expected to cost S$2 billion in total with the disbursement of the third and final tranche in October, far more than the original S$1.2 billion set aside in the Resilience Budget in March, Manpower Minister Josephine Teo said in Parliament on Friday.

Over S$1.1 billion has already been disbursed in the first two tranches in May and July, she said in response to a question from Member of Parliament Cheng Li Hui.

The means-tested scheme is to help self-employed persons of lesser means get through this crisis. So far, 190,000 individuals have received payouts, of which 100,000 qualified automatically and 90,000 qualified after applying.

About two in every three applications have been approved, said Mrs Teo. Applications that were not approved may have been rejected because applicants had been high earners, lived in high-value properties, or own two or more properties along with their spouses.

As for the question of whether there will be further relief for the self-employed after the scheme ends, Mrs Teo noted that the government has said that it is studying appropriate ways to support such workers beyond existing schemes.