NTUC extends aid to private-hire drivers affected by recent COVID-19 pandemic and are not covered by earlier government package.
Private-hire drivers can now claim NTUC aid fund Help is now available for private-hire car (PHC) drivers affected by the coronavirus slowdown PHOTO: ST FILE

Help is now available for Private-Hire Car (PHC) drivers affected by the coronavirus slowdown but who did not qualify for the aid package announced last month.

They can apply for a new fund set up by the Government and the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC), Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan shared on Facebook on 18 March 2020.

In a separate post, the National Private Hire Vehicles Association said drivers can apply 18 March to 17 April 2020 for the new Driver Care Fund (DCF). Successful applicants will receive a one-off support package of $300.

"You may consider applying for DCF if you are a registered PHC driver before 13 February 2020 - with valid vocational licence - and have not received Special Relief Fund," the post noted.

It indicated that applicants are those with 'complex chronic illnesses that require regular medical care', who are on 'prolonged medical leave due to illness or injury', are primary caregivers of vulnerable dependants, or are recipients of/or have an immediate family member who is a recipient of other financial aid. They might also be Community Health Assist Scheme blue or orange cardholders, and are starting to face 'financial difficulties on essential living'.

The initiative follows feedback from various drivers who said they did not qualify for the first $77 million assistance, which targeted cabbies and full-time PHC drivers who had clocked a certain amount of hours. Facebook user Francis Boey, however, said $300 may not be enough for those facing hardships. "Might as well stop driving and return car instead of accumulating rental debts," he added.