Coronavirus: NTUC website taken offline to build in queue system after flood of applications for self-employed income relief

The site had been down for several hours on April 27, 2020.
PHOTO: Screengrab/NTUC

SINGAPORE - A website for the self-employed seeking income relief amid the coronavirus outbreak has been taken offline for a queue system to be built in after a flood of online applications.

The National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) website was stalled on Monday (April 27) by the sheer volume of applications for the Self-Employed Person Income Relief Scheme (Sirs).

In a Facebook post by NTUC's Freelancers and Self-Employed Unit, users were informed that a queue system will be implemented to avoid further disruptions, and that the application page will be closed for the time being to effect these changes.

It was not mentioned when the website can be accessed again.

The labour movement said the connectivity issues users faced were a result of a "massive surge in applications", although they had anticipated high traffic and had prepared for this scenario.

The relief sees applicants receiving three quarterly cash payouts of $3,000 each.

In comments left on NTUC's Facebook page, many users expressed their anxieties after being unable to enter the site, or complete their applications.

Some were worried that they had not qualified for the automatic payments, and wanted to submit an application just in case.

To reassure users, NTUC said there is no closing date for applications at the moment, and that those who are eligible for the scheme will still receive payments in three tranches.

The number of tranches is not impacted by when the user submits his application, it added.

For instance, if an application is submitted on June 1, the first payout will be received in the first half of July, the second payout at end-July, and the third payout at end-October.

NTUC said that payouts will begin from end-May for applications or appeals that are managed by them.

For those who are eligible for automatic payouts, they will receive their three quarterly cash payouts in end-May, July and October respectively.

The Straits Times has reached out to NTUC for more information.

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This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.