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Over 500 people offer to return S$500 Temporary Relief Fund payout: MSF

SINGAPORE — More than 500 people have offered to return the S$500 they had received from the Temporary Relief Fund (TRF), with some saying they have submitted incorrect information in their applications, the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) said on Friday (April 17).

People queueing to apply for the Temporary Relief Fund at Marine Parade Community Club on April 1, 2020.

People queueing to apply for the Temporary Relief Fund at Marine Parade Community Club on April 1, 2020.

SINGAPORE — More than 500 people have offered to return the S$500 they had received from the Temporary Relief Fund (TRF), with some saying they have submitted incorrect information in their applications, the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) said on Friday (April 17).

Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam had earlier told reporters that some of the individuals who had abused the fund by making fraudulent claims have since come forward to return the money.

His comments came after MSF and the police announced that a 41-year-old man was under investigation for possible abuse of the fund.

The financial aid provides a one-off S$500 sum for lower- to middle-income Singaporeans and permanent residents facing difficulties during the Covid-19 crisis — due to job or income loss.

Apart from those who have submitted incorrect information, there are others who said that they no longer need the extra support, MSF said on Friday.

Some of these individuals were initially told that they would be retrenched or placed on no-pay leave by their employers, but have since been able to retain their jobs or their salaries because of the Jobs Support Scheme. Under this scheme, the Government will co-fund the gross monthly wages paid to each Singaporean or resident employee for nine months.

 

Other people returning the S$500 said that they were unsure whether their jobs or incomes would be affected because of the circuit breaker measures, and applied for the fund without first clarifying with their employers.

Then there are those who offered to return the money because they wanted to give it to those who needed it more, MSF said.

In a Facebook post on Friday, Mr Desmond Lee, Minister for Family and Social Development, said that the ministry has processed more than 300,000 applications for the fund.

He confirmed that the ComCare hotline run by the ministry has received many calls from people saying they wished to return their S$500 payout. MSF has set up an online platform to process such requests, he added.

“There is no need to call the ComCare hotline to ask about how to return the TRF. Let’s free up the hotline for our ComCare clients and those who need social assistance so that they can receive the help that they need,” he said. People under ComCare assistance, a scheme under MSF, are supported in basic living expenses, including cash aid as well as assistance with household and medical bills. They do not qualify for the TRF.

 

Individuals who wish to return their TRF money should visit go.gov.sg/trf-refund-form for more information.

Mr Lee added that those who wish to return their unbanked TRF cheques or cashier's order may do so at their nearest Social Service Office.

Related topics

Covid-19 coronavirus Temporary Relief Fund MSF Desmond Lee financial aid

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