Since the start of COVID-19 Support Grant (CSG) applications on 4 May 2020, MSF received about 48,000 applications from those whose jobs have been affected by the COVID-19 crisis.
While applications are mostly done online, there are some who need help with their applications and apply directly at MSF’s Social Service Offices (SSOs). Volunteers like Ms Crystal Choy have stepped forward to help these applicants alongside our MSF colleagues.
Ms Crystal Choy volunteering to help applicants for the COVID-19 Support Grant
“The applications can be done entirely online, but some older Singaporeans still prefer to come down to the SSOs for assistance as they don’t have the technological skills to use phones or laptops,” she says. “As I’m more tech-savvy, I want to give back to society by helping our seniors and others who may need help applying for the help schemes.”
The 24-year-old is a programme management executive at the Civil Service College who responded to an email call for volunteers, because she wanted to do something meaningful for those in need during this uncertain economic period.
Stationed at the SSO @ Bukit Merah, Crystal helps five to ten individuals per day to apply for the CSG. After first checking if they are eligible for the Grant and their supporting documents, she walks them through the online application process.
As some of these applicants did not qualify for CSG, Crystal promptly directed them to our SSO colleagues who supported them through other assistance, such as the ComCare scheme. ComCare provides financial assistance and holistic support to low-income individuals and families to help them through difficult times and regain stability.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the SSOs are exercising greater flexibility to support those in need. For example, since April 2020, new ComCare beneficiaries receive at least six months of assistance to help tide them through their financial challenges.
Households, whose ComCare assistance expires from now till July 2020, will also have their assistance automatically extended for a further six months without having to approach the SSOs.
Crystal is thankful for every success story in her volunteering stint. “Seeing people who are financially vulnerable receive help to support their families is very encouraging,” she says.
And though this period has proved to be a difficult one for Singaporeans, it has not stopped Crystal from stepping out of her comfort zone to volunteer.
“Being deployed to an SSO, I’ve encountered people from all walks of life whom I don’t usually meet in the course of my work,” she says.
Crystal encourages other Singaporeans to seek out volunteering opportunities in our collective fight against COVID-19.
“This is a time when Singaporeans need to be there for one another, and stand united,” says Crystal.