Surviving COVID-19: Government Schemes, Banks/Insurers Relief Measures, Easy Cash, Interest-Free Loans
To some, the pandemic might be a minor inconvenience. “I can’t see my friends a for a month!” might truly be the only hardship they face. For others, it may be struggling with bills and meeting rent or mortgage payments. Personally, I’ve had a major upheaval in my work life – but perhaps more on that next time.
Here are some ways to get by this financially difficult time:
Temporary Relief Fund (1st to 30th April)
If you have lost your job and suffered an income drop of at least 30% due to COVID-19, you can apply for a one-time $500 payout.
- Singapore Citizen/PR aged 16 years and above
- Prior monthly gross Household income ≤ $10,000, or monthly Per Capita Income of ≤ $3,100
- Not on ComCare Assistance
COVID-19 Support Grant (1st May onwards)
If you have lost your job due to COVID-19, you get $800 per month for three months
- SC/PR aged 16 years and above
- Prior gross monthly HHI of ≤$10,000, or monthly PCI of ≤$3,100
- Live in a property with annual value of ≤$21,000
- Previously employed as full-time/part-time permanent or contract staf
- Not on ComCare assistance
Self-Employed Income Relief Scheme (from May onwards)
I previously talked about this and wondered out loud why the requirements were made as such. There have since been some changes that improve on the scheme by increasing the Annual Value limit as well as allowing for some income earned as an employee.
Eligible self-employed people will get $9,000 in total over 3 payments:
- Started work as an SEP on or before 25 Mar 2020
- Employee income ≤ $2,300 (previously no employee income allowed)
- Net Trade Income of ≤$100,000
- Live in a property with annual value of ≤$21,000 (previously $13,000)
- Do not own two or more properties
- For married SEPs, SEP and spouse together do not own two or more properties
- Assessable Income of spouse is ≤$70,000
You can take a interest-free balance transfer now for 1.5% processing fee for 6 months, or 4.5% processing fee for 12 months. These funds would come in very useful for those facing a cashflow crunch, or have high-interest debts to quickly pay down.
All you have to do is to pay the higher of $50 or 1% every month, and there is no interest. It’s great to solve cashflow issues at a rather cheap rate.
And if you don’t have existing StanChart cards you get $200! If you borrow $10,000 at 1.5% fee, you’re gaining $50 for borrowing money! It’d make sense even if you let the funds sit in your bank for interest.
Bank/Insurers relief measures
Banks and insurers are also allowing deferment of mortgages and premium payments, as well as converting high-interest loans into reduced rates ones.
Check with your respective financial institution what relief measures they are rolling out to help impacted people cope with their financial obligations.
Some of the more popular insurers:
Some of the bigger banks:
Please head on over to sethisfy.com/cards for some great card deals. As of writing, there’s still AirPods Pro (or $200 cash) for StanChart cards until 10th April, $250 for Citi Cash Back+ until 12th April, and $100 for some OCBC cards until the end of the month.
You still get some rewards even if you’re an existing cardholder, and I get a small referral fee. Let’s help each other out here 🙂
Good luck and I hope we pull through this sooner than later.
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