The Business

COVID-19 Support for Singapore Freelancers and Self-Employed

This list will be constantly updated!

Has the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic hit your freelance or self-employed business hard?

We feel you.

Here’s a list of all the measures the Singapore government is taking to help everyone tide through this challenging period of time.

We’re covering (click on the links below to skip to the relevant sections!):

This list will continually be updated, so keep checking back!

Cash Payouts

Cash being passed from one hand to the other

$600 to $1,200 payout for all adult Singaporeans

As long as you’re a Singaporean and at least 21 years old, you’ll qualify for $600 to $1,200 cash coming from the “Care and Support – Cash” payout and the Solidarity Payment in 2020.

The exact payout amount depends on your assessable income for YA2019:

Assessable incomeCash payout amount
Up to $28,000$1,200
$28,001 to $100,000$900
More than $100,000 OR you own more than one property$600

On top of this amount, you’ll get an extra $300 if you have at least one Singaporean child who is 20 years old or younger this year.

When will you receive the money?

The first $600 will be paid to you:

  • By bank transfer by 14 April 2020 (if you have provided the government with your bank account details); OR
  • By cheque from 30 April 2020 onwards (if you haven’t).

The remainder (if any) will be paid to you from 18 June 2020 onwards.

SIRS: Three $3,000 payouts for self-employed persons (total $9,000)

Heads-up: SIRS has ended on 31 December 2020. If you still need support after that, you can try applying for the COVID-19 Recovery Grant instead from 18 January 2021 onwards.

Eligible self-employed persons will receive three $3,000 payouts (for a total of $9,000) under the Self-Employed Person Income Relief Scheme (SIRS).

Self-employed persons aged 37 years old or older in 2020 who are receiving annual Workfare Income Supplement (WIS) payments will automatically be eligible for these payouts. You will not need to apply to receive them.

If you are 37 years old or older in 2020 but are not receiving Workfare, you will also automatically qualify and receive the payouts if you meet all of the following conditions:

“Net Trade Income” refers to your gross trade income minus allowable business expenses, capital allowances and trade losses.

Can you appeal if you don’t meet the above criteria?

NTUC webpage for applying for SIRS (Self-Employed Income Relief Scheme)

If you are 21 to 36 years old in 2020, marginally miss one of the above criteria and are facing “extenuating circumstances”, you will be able to submit an appeal via this NTUC webpage from 27 April 2020 onwards, 9am to 9pm daily. There is currently no deadline for submitting an appeal.

Supporting documents you will need to prepare include:

  • If you are a self-employed person before 1 January 2020: Notice of Assessment for YA2020
  • If you started self-employment on or after 1 January 2020 and before 25 March 2020: Proof of self-employment, such as contracts for service or invoices dated during this time period
  • Documents to prove financial hardship

You will generally be notified of your appeal outcome within 30 days of submitting the appeal.

As mentioned, if you do not meet the eligibility criteria but are facing valid extenuating circumstances, your appeal may be approved. Depending on your situation however, you may or may not receive the full payout amount.

Also, if your appeal is rejected, you can re-appeal but you will still have to fulfil the same SIRS eligibility criteria as stated above (e.g. you became a self-employed person on or before 25 March 2020, your Net Trade Income does not exceed $100,000).

So this option for re-appealing might be more suitable for people whose initial appeal was rejected due to a mistake in either their application or supporting documents.

For example, if they had declared their self-employed income as their employment income instead of their trade income while filing their income tax returns.

Refer to the NTUC webpage linked above for more information.

How can you receive the money?

As mentioned, if you are 37 years old or older in 2020, had declared positive self-employed income to the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) or CPF Board for Work Year 2018, and automatically qualify for the payouts based on the eligibility criteria above, you don’t need to apply for the payouts.

Instead, you will start receiving the payouts automatically from 27 May 2020 onwards. Just look out for a letter and SMS from CPF Board from 22 May 2020 that will confirm your payout eligibility.

All other eligible self-employed persons will have to submit an appeal for the payouts. See the above section for more information on this!

The $3,000 payouts are scheduled to be made in at the end of May, July and October 2020. If your appeal is accepted after end-May, you will still receive the payouts in 3 tranches.

For example, if you submit your application on 1 June 2020, you will receive your payouts in the first half of July, end-July and end-October 2020 respectively.

For more information, check out our detailed guide to the Self-Employed Person Income Relief Scheme (SIRS) in Singapore.

COVID-19 Recovery Grant: Up to $500 per month for 6 months

The COVID-19 Recovery Grant (CRG) replaces SIRS after it ended on 31 December 2020. Self-employed persons who successfully apply for the CRG can receive up to $500 per month for 6 months.

The payment is made in 2 tranches of 3 months each, i.e. the first time you successfully apply for the CRG, you can stand to receive $500 per month for 3 months. Afterwards, if you still require support, you can apply for a second tranche of another 3 months’ worth of CRG payments from 19 April 2021 onwards.

The eligibility criteria for applying for the CRG is as follows:

  • At the time of applying for the CRG, you had faced an average loss in Net Trade Income of at least 50%, over at least 3 consecutive months after 23 Jan 2020, compared to your average monthly Net Trade Income in 2019 or 2020
  • You are at least 21 years old, and a Singapore citizen or Permanent Resident but not a full-time National Serviceman
  • You own not more than one property, and the property you live in has an Annual Value of not more than $21,000
  • Before you experienced the income loss, either your household income did not exceed $7,800 OR your per capita household income did not exceed $2,600
  • You have declared your Net Trade Income in either 2019 or 2020, and are able to provide supporting documents on your line of work (e.g. trade licences, contracts for service, invoices and receipts)
  • You are able to show proof of actively looking for employment in the 2 months before applying for the CRG, OR proof of at least 2 attempts to improve your business revenue or reach out about new business opportunities (e.g. getting new freelance clients)
  • You are not concurrently receiving support from certain government schemes, e.g. ComCare or the COVID-19 Driver Relief Fund (view the full list here). If you had previously obtained the SIRS payouts, you can still apply for the CRG.

How to apply for the COVID-19 Recovery Grant

Applications for the CRG will start on 18 January 2021 and end on 31 December 2021.

Click here to submit your application. You’ll be able to apply every day from 9am to 10pm, including weekends and public holidays, until 18 April 2021. From 19 April 2021 onwards, you’ll be able to apply 24/7.

Applications for the second tranche of CRG payments will open on 19 April 2021 and end on 31 December 2021. You will need to have received all three support payments from the first tranche, or be in your last month of receiving such support, before you can apply for the second tranche.

After you have submitted all the required supporting documents, you will be notified of your application outcome by SMS in about 2 weeks.

For more information on the CRG, refer to this Ministry of Social and Family Development webpage.

Temporary Relief Fund: $500 cash if you lost at least 30% of your personal income due to COVID-19

Note: The application period for the Temporary Relief Fund has ended! The info below is for reference purposes only.

If you’re a Singapore citizen or Permanent Resident who has lost at least 30% of your personal income as a result of COVID-19 (e.g. you lost jobs), you can apply for a $500 cash payout under the Temporary Relief Fund.

To obtain the payout, you’ll have to meet all of the following eligibility criteria:

  • The job losses occurred after 23 January 2020
  • Before your income was affected, either your household income did not exceed $10,000 or your per capita household income did not exceed $3,100
  • You currently aren’t receiving ComCare assistance

How to apply for the cash payout

You can apply for the cash payout online here using your SingPass account between 9am and 6pm. You will need to prepare the following supporting documents:

  • NRIC
  • Documentary proof that you’ve lost jobs, if applicable (e.g. letter of termination of contract)
  • Documentary proof that you’ve suffered income loss due to COVID-19. (If you have valid reasons for not being able to provide such proof, a self-declaration of income loss can be accepted)

Alternatively, you can apply in person. To do so, fill in this application form and prepare copies of the above supporting documents.

Then, bring the application form and supporting documents to your nearest Social Services Office or Community Centre/Club.

Regardless of whether you applied online or in person, your application will be processed as soon as possible.

The $500 payout will be issued to you via PayNow if you applied online, and via cheque if you applied at a Social Services Office. If you had applied at a Community Centre/Club, you can receive the payout via cheque or PayNow.

The application period is 1 April 2020 to 30 April 2020.

$100 credit on utilities bill

Every household with at least one Singapore citizen will get a one-off $100 Solidarity Utilities Credit to offset the household’s utilities bill in either July or August 2020.

This credit applies to all households, regardless of property type.

How to receive the credit

No need to do anything! The $100 credit will be automatically added to your July or August 2020 utilities bill.

$3,000 special payment for Workfare Income Supplement recipients

If you’re a self-employed person who received Workfare for Work Year 2019, you’ll get an extra $3,000.

You must have been at least 35 years old in 2019, or a person with disabilities, to qualify for the extra payment.

When will you receive the money?

The special payment will be made to you in 2 equal instalments in July and October 2020, in the same way that you received the initial WIS payment (e.g. bank transfer or cheque).

$50 to $300 cash payment for NTUC members

Note: The application period for the enhanced NTUC Care Fund (COVID-19) has ended! The info below is for reference purposes only.

If you are an NTUC member who has suffered job or event cancellations, you may be entitled to cash relief of between $50 and $300 under the enhanced NTUC Care Fund (COVID-19).

Your eligibility depends on whether you are a new or existing NTUC member, whether you have any dependants staying in the same household in Singapore as you, and your gross monthly personal income level:

Existing NTUC membersNew NTUC members (i.e. people who joined from 2 October 2020 onwards)
  • $300 if you have such dependants, and had a original gross monthly personal income of up to $4,500
  • $100 if you have no such dependants, and had a original gross monthly personal income of up to $1,600
  • $200 if you have such dependants, and had a original gross monthly personal income of up to $4,500
  • $50 if you have no such dependants, and had a original gross monthly personal income of up to $1,600

How to apply for the cash relief

You can submit your application for the enhanced NTUC Care Fund (COVID-19) cash relief via this online portal.

The application period is 23 November 2020 to 28 February 2021. When applying, you’ll need to provide the following supporting documents:

  • Pre-COVID-19 income document, such as your Notice of Assessment tax document for 2019
  • Proof that you have had at least 2 jobs cancelled or postponed, or that you were required to serve a Quarantine Order or Stay-Home Notice

US$100 for ASEAN youth freelancers

Note: The ASEAN Gig Fund has ended! The info below is for reference purposes only.

This grant isn’t being offered by the government, but it’s so good that we thought it was worth sharing anyway!

The ASEAN Youth Foundation has started an ASEAN Gig Fund to offer grants of up to US$100 for youth freelancers in Southeast Asia (including in Singapore!)

The amount of the grant depends on how much you’ve earned through gig work—ASEAN will match your earnings dollar for dollar, up to US$100!

How to apply for the grant

Fill in this Google Form, providing details such as:

  • Your email address
  • Your self-employed vocation
  • How your earnings have been impacted by COVID-19
  • Your monthly cost of living

Your application will then be assessed. Do make sure that you provide an email address in your application, otherwise the ASEAN Youth Foundation won’t be able to contact you if you’re eligible for the grant!

Training Support

Lightbulb and other icons, such as a pencil and math formulas, to represent learning

Extra $500 SkillsFuture Credits

For all Singaporeans aged 25 or older as of 31 December 2020, you’ll get an extra $500 SkillsFuture Credits to spend on SkillsFuture-approved courses.

You can start using these credits from 1 October 2020. But don’t take too long to use them—they’ll expire on 31 December 2025!

With a whole range of SkillsFuture-approved courses available, from digital marketing courses to data analytics to design thinking, this is a good chance to upgrade yourself—for free.

How to apply for a SkillsFuture-approved course

MySkillsFuture courses landing page

Head over to the MySkillsFuture website to start sign up for courses of your choice!

Training allowance of $10/hour

Self-employed persons who attend SkillsFuture Series courses, or certain sector-specific courses, will get a training allowance under an NTUC Training Fund (SEPs). As its name suggests, this fund is managed by NTUC and runs from 1 May 2020 until 31 March 2021.

The SkillsFuture Series is a curated series of courses aimed to equip Singaporeans with skills needed to remain relevant in the future.

Course categories include finance, digital media and entrepreneurship and the courses have 3 difficulty levels.

As of 1 May 2020, the training allowance is $10/hour. The SEP Training Support Scheme will run until 31 May 2021.

By the way: Existing NTUC Freelancers and Self-Employed Unit (U FSE) members will get an extra $1 per hour of training allowance. Self-employed persons who join U FSE after 1 March 2020 will get an extra 50 cents per hour of training allowance.

So for example, if a non-member will receive $10/hour in training allowance, you will get $11/hour if you had joined U FSE as a member on or before 1 March 2020.

How to apply for the training allowance

First, apply for a Letter of Eligibility from NTUC’s e2i. You will need to provide certain supporting documents when applying, such as your Notice of Assessment for FY2020.

Then, apply for your course using your Letter of Eligibility. After you’ve completed your course, submit a claims form using this link. You’ll also need to submit supporting documents, such as a Training Certification Slip endorsed by your course provider.

You’ll have to submit your documents within 30 working days of completing your course, and by 31 May 2021.

The training allowance will be disbursed directly to your bank account within 30 days of submission if everything is in order.

For more information on the application process, refer to the e2i website.

Leave of Absence / Stay-Home Notice / Quarantine Allowances

Paper stick figures placed in an outline of a house on paper

$100 daily allowance for your Leave of Absence/Stay-Home Notice duration

Note: The application period for the Leave of Absence/Stay-Home Notice allowance has ended! The info below is for reference purposes only.

If you’re a Singapore citizen or Permanent Resident self-employed person who has been to one of the countries hardest-hit by COVID-19, you may be required to serve a Leave of Absence or Stay-Home Notice upon coming back to Singapore.

If so, you can claim $100 per day for the duration of your Leave of Absence or Stay-Home Notice.

Note: you will not be eligible for this allowance if you are still able to work remotely despite being on Leave of Absence or serving a Stay-Home Notice.

For example, if you’re a freelance writer who typically works from home anyway, you probably won’t qualify.

How to apply for the Leave of Absence/Stay-Home Notice allowance

Ministry of Manpower webpage for the LOA/SHN Support Programme for self-employed persons

Before you apply, check that you’re actually eligible for this allowance first.

That’s because if you’ve travelled to an affected country after a certain date, you may not be eligible for the allowance.

For example, self-employed persons from the healthcare, education and eldercare sectors who travelled to mainland China are not eligible if they had travelled to mainland China after 28 January 2020.

On the other hand, self-employed persons from all other sectors are only not eligible for the allowance if they had travelled to mainland China after 31 January 2020. For more information on the eligible countries and cut-off dates, refer to the Ministry of Manpower’s website.

If you’re eligible, great! After you have finished serving your Leave of Absence or Stay-Home Notice, apply for your allowance through this form.

When applying for the allowance, you’ll need to provide these supporting documents:

  • Your income tax returns or Notice of Assessment for YA2020 (to prove your self-employed status)
  • Your proof of travel to the affected areas (e.g. your air ticket or boarding pass to that area)

You’ll have to apply within 90 days of serving your last day of Leave of Absence or Stay-Home Notice. But unless you forget, you probably won’t take that long to submit your application.

(So make sure you don’t forget.)

$100 daily allowance if you’re under quarantine

Self-employed Singapore citizens and Permanent Residents who have been served Quarantine Orders after coming into close contact with confirmed COVID-19 cases can claim an allowance of $100 per day of quarantine.

To qualify for the allowance, you’ll have to:

  • Show proof of your employment; and
  • Comply with the Quarantine Order (i.e. staying put at your designated location. No going out for any reason!)

How to apply for the quarantine allowance

After completing your quarantine, you will receive a Quarantine Allowance Order form.

Fill in the form and submit it to the Ministry of Health.

Courage Fund: $500 to $1,000 cash for income loss after a household member is being isolated or contracts COVID-19

Singapore citizens and Permanent Residents can apply for cash relief under the Courage Fund if all of the following requirements are met:

  • At least one member of the household (including themselves) has been required to serve out a Leave of Absence, Stay-Home Notice or Quarantine Order, or has contracted COVID-19
  • Before being affected by COVID-19, the household was drawing a monthly income not exceeding $6,200, or a monthly per capita income not exceeding $2,000
  • As a result of the household member being isolated or contracting COVID-19, the household experienced at least a 10% loss in income

The amount of cash relief awarded depends on the household’s income level after being impacted by COVID-19:

Household income per capitaCash relief amount
Not exceeding $650$1,000
$651 to $1,350$750
More than $1,350$500

How to apply for the cash relief

The cash relief can be applied for from 6 April 2020 onwards.

To do so, head to your nearest Social Services Office and submit the following documents:

  • NRIC
  • Documentary proof that the household member was isolated or contracted COVID-19
  • Documentary proof that your household suffered income loss due to COVID-19
  • Copy of your bank statement (for crediting the cash relief to your bank account)

Business Operations

Laptop, desk lamp and cactus pot

25% corporate tax rebate for YA2020

If you’ve registered a company for your business, your company is entitled to a 25% corporate tax rebate for YA2020. This rebate is capped at $15,000.

How to apply for the corporate tax rebate

You don’t need to.

Just file your Estimated Chargeable Income and income tax return form (Form C-S or Form C, whichever applies to your company) as per normal.

IRAS will automatically apply the rebate when you have to pay the tax.

Heads-up: your Estimated Chargeable Income has to be filed within 3 months of your financial year end.

On the other hand, your income tax return form typically has to be filed by 15 December.

3-month income tax deferral

Self-employed persons and freelancers will have their personal income tax payments deferred by 3 months.

This means that if you were originally supposed to pay your income tax between May 2020 and July 2020, you will now only have to pay it between August 2020 and November 2020.

The same applies if you had registered a company for your business—your company will have its corporate tax payment deferred by 3 months. Collection of payment will start from July 2020 onwards.

Jobs Support Scheme: Up to 75% wage support for self-employed persons who are employees and shareholder-directors of their own company

If you have registered a company for your freelance or self-employed business, and you are a shareholder, director and employee of your company, you may qualify for the Jobs Support Scheme. Under this scheme, you’ll get a:

  • 75% cash grant for your gross monthly wages for April and May 2020 (2 months);
  • 25% cash grant for the same for the wages paid/payable in October to December 2019, February and March 2020, and June to August 2020 (for a total of 8 months); and a
  • 0–50% cash grant for the same for wages paid/payable from September 2020 to March 2021 (7 months), depending on the sector your business is in.

You will be considered an employee of your company if you are have been paying yourself a monthly salary which includes the payment of employer and employee CPF contributions. This monthly salary is not the same as the director’s fee that you may be paying yourself as your company’s director.

“Gross monthly wages” refer to the monthly salary paid to employees which includes the employee CPF contribution portion, but not the employer CPF contribution portion.

To qualify for the wage support:

  • Your company needs to have been registered on or before 20 April 2020
  • Your employee salary cannot have exceeded $100,000 in YA2019

How to receive the wage support

You don’t need to apply for the wage support as you’ll get it automatically. If you’re eligible, IRAS will mail you a letter stating how much wage support you’ll be getting.

You’ll receive all 17 months’ worth of wage support in 6 rounds, during the months of April 2020, May 2020, July 2020, October 2020, March 2021 and June 2021.

If you missed out on the April 2020 payment because the Jobs Support Scheme didn’t apply to you then, this payment will be made to you during the May 2020 round of payment.

For more information on how the payment amounts will be calculated for each round of payment, check out this IRAS webpage.

Medisave Contributions

Sad smiley face with a bandage wrapped around its head

Opting for a longer Medisave instalment plan

This only applies if you have been paying your Medisave contributions through a monthly instalment plan as opposed to in one lump sum.

Self-employed Medisave contribution instalment plans typically run for 12 months. But if money is tight and you need to reduce your monthly instalment amounts, you can opt for a longer Medisave instalment plan of 15 months.

How to opt for a longer Medisave instalment plan

Log into my cpf online services, then click on “My Self-Employed Home” on the left menu followed by “My MediSave Contribution” on the right.

If you’ve signed up for a Medisave instalment plan, you’ll see an option for you to “Change Instalment Plan”.

Sector-Specific Measures

Umbrella shielding a briefcase and a data chart from the rain

Apart from the above measures, you might also qualify for extra support depending on which industry sector you’re part of.

Click on the relevant tab below to learn more!

Up to $50,000 per project

A new Self-Employed Person Grant will offer freelancers in the arts and culture sector up to $50,000 per project.

It will be launched by June 2021 and you’ll be able to apply if you’re a Singapore citizen or Permanent Resident.

More info will be released in due course.

Training grants of up to $1,000

Note: The application period for this grant has ended! The info below is for reference purposes only.

Arts self-employed persons who are Singapore citizens and Permanent Residents can apply for up to a 90% subsidy of their training fees, including a training allowance of $10/hour under the Capability Development Scheme for the Arts.

The total amount of funding that you can receive is capped at $1,000.

The training has to take place between 16 March 2020 and 31 March 2021, and priority will be given to applicants going for training in the areas such as:

  • Digital technology for art-making and outreach
  • Audience engagement
  • Entrepreneurship
How to apply for the grant

To apply for the grant, submit the application form to the Capability Development Scheme for the Arts department of the National Arts Council. You can do so by email (cdsa@nac.gov.sg) or snail mail.

You’ll need to include the following in your application:

  • Budget Form
  • Proof of course registration and cost
  • Proof of self-employed status (as seen from your CPF or IRAS statements) OR Proof of your sole proprietorship status (as seen from your ACRA registration)
  • CV with your arts achievements, including at least one public arts event that was held in Singapore in the last 12 months

The grant has to be applied for between 16 March and 14 September 2020, 5pm. You can also submit up to 2 applications, and each application can include multiple programmes.

For more information, check out these guidelines on the Capability Development Scheme for the Arts and this National Arts Council webpage.

$500 cash grant

Note: The application period for this grant has ended! The info below is for reference purposes only.

This grant isn’t being offered by the government, but it’s so good that we thought it was worth sharing anyway!

Singaporean and Permanent Resident arts freelancers who had projects cancelled or postponed can apply for a one $500 cash grant per household under a Pasar Glamour Art Aid emergency relief fund started by pop-up event Pasar Glamour.

Pasar Glamour states that it is:

“specifically looking to help those working primarily in ‘live’ theatre, dance, and music, who were engaged for projects that were unexpectedly cancelled or postponed”

Unlike the other support measures, there is also no guarantee that you’ll receive the money after applying for it. Freelancers with more urgent or greater financial needs will be prioritised.

How to apply for the cash grant

Submit your application via this Google Form by 24 April 2020, 2359 hours.

When applying, you’ll need to provide the following information:

  • Your personal details such as job role and bank account number
  • Proof of at least one paid performing arts project between July 2019 and January 2020 (e.g. contracts)
  • Proof of income loss due to COVID-19 (e.g. cancellation or postponement notices)
  • Written reasons on why you need the cash (e.g. urgent medical bills or essential expenses that can’t be delayed)
  • Number of dependants in your household that rely on your income, and their personal details
  • Latest bank statement
  • Whether you are currently eligible for other financial assistance schemes, such as the Self-Employed Person Income Relief Scheme

You will be informed of your application status by mid-May.

Digital Presentation Grant for the Arts (DPG)

Note: The application period for this grant has ended! The info below is for reference purposes only.

The National Arts Council is inviting arts practitioners (including self-employed persons) to present their work in digital form.

When doing so, you will be able to apply for a grant of up to $20,000 per project. Your project has to be completed by 31 March 2021.

How to apply for the grant

You can submit your application for this grant using this form. The application period is 14 April to 14 September 2020 at 5pm.

For more information (including the supporting documents to be provided), check out this National Arts Council webpage.

Ask NAC Engagement Sessions

Note: The engagement sessions period has ended! The info below is for reference purposes only.

If you’re an arts self-employed person, you can RSVP for an engagement session with the National Arts Council on 20 and 21 April 2020 from 11am to 1pm. For more information, check out this National Arts Council webpage.

$300 to $500 cash grant for SAMPP members

Members of the Singapore Association of Motion Picture Professionals (SAMPP) can apply for a $300 to $500 cash grant from the SAMPP COVID-19 Relief Fund.

If you’re not already a member, you can apply for membership before applying for the grant. The membership fee has been waived until the end of 2020.

Applying does not guarantee a payout. As funds are limited, applications from the following categories of people will be prioritised:

  • Those struggling with daily living costs, such as food and housing
  • Those struggling with medical and health costs in the family
  • Those with dependants who will be affected by the income loss
  • Families where both income earners have been hit hard by COVID-19

Apart from this $300 to $500 cash grant, current active members who registered before 1 April 2020 will also get a cash grant equal to their last-paid membership fee. This effectively gives you a refund of your last-paid membership fee.

How to apply for the grant

To apply for the cash grant, fill in this online form and email your supporting documents to admin@sampp.org.sg with “SAMPP COVID-19 RELIEF FUND APPLICATION” as your email subject.

Your supporting documents will need to include:

  • Two referees who can vouch that you work in the media industry, if needed
  • Proof of original income (before COVID-19), e.g. Notice of Assessment or invoices
  • Proof of job/income loss, e.g. WhatsApp messages about job cancellation

USD$200 cash grant

Note: The Singapore Unbound Relief Fund has ended! The info below is for reference purposes only.

This grant isn’t being offered by the government, but it’s so good that we thought it was worth sharing anyway!

Writers who are Singapore citizens and Permanent Residents can apply for a USD$200 cash grant from the Singapore Unbound Relief Fund (SURF).

This cash grant is open to arts and media writers, such as:

  • Screenwriters
  • Songwriters
  • Journalists and art reviewers
  • Fiction, non-fiction and poetry writers

Academic work, technical manual and commercial copy writers are not eligible for this grant.

Writers must also be in “dire need of immediate help”. The cash grant is “not for writers who have lost work temporarily but who have other resources available.”

How to apply for the cash grant

Write to Jee at jkoh@singaporeunbound.org, including the following in your email:

  • How COVID-19 resulted in a loss of income for you (including supporting documents such as emails about the cancellation of gigs)
  • Brief but current writing and publication resume
  • Proof of Singapore citizenship or permanent residency status
  • Your Venmo or PayPal handle

Restructuring of existing school contracts

Self-employed CCA instructors and coaches engaged by schools will have the option of receiving 40% of their annual contract value before completing work on them.

This amount is capped at $3,000 per instructor and will be paid out in June and November 2020.

CCA instructors and coaches will also be able to extend their contracts to until December 2021, so they have more time to fulfil their contractual obligations.

How to restructure the contract

Eligible instructors and coaches will be contacted by their respective schools with more information from 25 May 2020 onwards.

Questions should be submitted to the school directly from 25 May 2020 onwards, or through this Ministry of Education webpage.

COVID-19 Driver Relief Fund

Under the COVID-19 Driver Relief Fund, private-hire drivers will stand to receive $20 per day from January to March 2021, followed by $15 per day from April to June 2021.

How to obtain the relief

Drivers who had previously received the Special Relief (see next section) will automatically receive the relief under the COVID-19 Driver Relief Fund from January 2021 onwards.

If you do not qualify for the COVID-19 Driver Relief Fund, you can try applying for the COVID-19 Recovery Grant instead.

Special Relief: Daily cash relief

Note: The Special Relief has ended! The info below is for reference purposes only.

The government is providing private-hire drivers with Special Relief of $10 per vehicle per day.

The private-hire operators (e.g. Grab and Gojek) will also be matching this sum, so eligible private-hire drivers will receive $20 per vehicle per day. Payments will be made weekly starting March 2020 and ending on 30 September 2020.

To qualify for the Special Relief, you must have completed at least 200 trips every month between October and December 2019 across all the private-hire apps you use to get passengers.

How to apply for the Special Relief

The Special Relief will be disbursed to you by the private-hire operator from which you had chosen to receive the relief.

(The window for choosing which operator to receive the Special Relief from was between 23 to 25 February 2020. You can still apply if you hadn’t applied by then, but your payments may be delayed.)

Apart from this Special Relief, your private-hire operator may also be offering extra support if you meet certain conditions. Check out Grab and Gojek’s websites for more information on this.

What if I don’t qualify for the Special Relief?

The application period for the Government & NTUC Driver Care Fund has ended! The info below is for reference purposes only.

If you don’t qualify for the Special Relief (e.g. you didn’t clock at least 200 monthly trips between October and December 2019), you may be able to apply for a one-off $300 support under the Government & NTUC Driver Care Fund.

You can choose to receive this $300 either in cash or stored value cards. The application period for the Driver Care Fund is 18 March to 17 April 2020.

For more information on the eligibility requirements and how to apply, check out this NTUC webpage.

Up to $25,000 per project

A new Self-Employed Person Project will offer sports freelancers up to $25,000 per project.

More details will be made available on the SportSG website in April 2021.

Sports Resilience Package

Coaches who are registered with the National Registry of Coaches can apply for a training allowance of $10 per hour when taking up CoachSG courses (beyond their required Continuing Coach Education hours).

Alternatively, they can sign up to be either a mentor or mentee under the Structured Mentoring Programme. During the mentorship, mentees and mentors will receive $400 and $600 per month respectively.

For more information on these initiatives, check out this ActiveSG webpage (click on “Training Allowances for Coaches” under the “For Individuals” section).

500 temporary jobs

SportSG will be creating 500 temporary jobs for freelancers and self-employed persons in Singapore’s sports community from now until the end of the year.

How to apply for the temporary jobs

The temporary jobs will be listed on the following job portals:

Check out the job responsibilities and required qualifications for the jobs listed there. If you think you might be a good fit, send in your application!

$1,000 wage support

Note: The application period for the wage support has ended! The info below is for reference purposes only.

Self-employed and licensed tourist guides who are Singapore citizens or Permanent Residents can apply for a $1,000 wage support to help cover their basic living expenses.

How to apply for the wage support

Starting 1 March 2020, tourist guides can log into the Singapore Tourism Board’s Travel Agents and Tourist Guides Licensing System (TRUST) to apply for the wage support.

The deadline for applying is 30 April 2020, so don’t delay!

Hang in There!

The COVID-19 situation will likely take a while to fully blow over.

In the meantime, hopefully some of these support measures for Singapore freelancers and self-employed persons will help ease the financial burden on your business.

Is any support measure you know missing from this list? Get in touch!

Tan Siew Ann
Fuelled by a long-standing interest in media, Siew Ann ventured into digital marketing while in law school and has not looked back since. Being inspired by the struggles that she and others have faced while freelancing in Singapore, Siew Ann started lancerX to help freelancers turn their craft into sustainable and meaningful full-time businesses.

10 Comments

  1. Hi Siew Ann
    I hope you can update the info here when it is announced, especially regarding the Self-Employed Person Income Relief Scheme. And thank you for consolidating all this useful information.

    1. Hi Ronald, yes I’ll be updating the info here the best I can! If I’ve missed out on anything, you can contact me to let me know 🙂 stay safe!

    1. Hi Ronald, no updates on SIRS currently I’m afraid! Last I heard, they’ll be allowing appeals from 20 April – which is tomorrow! So you might see me updating this webpage tomorrow 😉

  2. Thanks for an awesome updated list. Very much appreciated. Was looking for a way to defer my Medisave Contributions and was able to apply to pay for a lesser monthly amount over a longer period of time. Was one of google search results.

  3. Hi Siew Ann,good afternoon!

    Thanks very much for your useful infos.

    I had registered a company since year 2018 but that is some complication on tax return
    which I am not sure what to do to qualify for this SIRS.

    Can I seek your kind advice thru phone conversation?my ctc hp: [removed].

    Thank you very much!

    1. Hi Sharon, I have redacted your handphone number so it doesn’t appear in a public space. When you say complication on tax return, do you mean that you declared your Net Trade Income as employment income instead of trade income? In this case, I believe there is an option in the SIRS application form to reclassify your income for the purposes of applying for SIRS. You can check the SIRS application website for more information on this!

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