Man Jailed After Quitting Job & Then Claiming He Was Retrenched to Get COVID-19 Funds


With the global pandemic raging on, many citizens’ livelihoods continue to be at stake.

Issues such as retrenchment and unemployment have impacted many financially.

The government had introduced several financial support schemes, in the hope of helping citizens tide through these tough times.

Though these schemes have helped those who are facing financial difficulties, they have also attracted some to abuse the system.

Man Who Claimed to be Retrenched Applied for Temporary Relief Fund to Receive Pay-out

Mr Chow Jia Chuan had attempted to cheat the system more than once in order to receive pay-outs.

In his first attempt, Mr Chow had applied online for the Temporary Relief Fund (TRF).

A quick recap on the eligibility criteria for the TRF:

  • Singapore Citizens or Permanent Residents aged 16 years and above
  • Was retrenched or suffered substantial (at least 30%) loss of personal income due to COVID-19. Note: Loss of job or income must have taken place after 23 Jan 2020 when COVID-19 first occurred in Singapore.
  • Had a gross monthly household income of ≤$10,000, or a gross monthly per capita income of ≤$3,100 prior to loss of job or income; and

The 29-year-old claimed to have been retrenched when he was applying for the financial assistance scheme in April 2020.

The twist?

Mr Chow had actually resigned from his role in the company.

Mr Chow expressed his wish to leave the company as he disliked the job and had interpersonal issues with a colleague, and not because of COVID-19.


Four days before his last day at work, he applied for the TRF, falsely declaring that he had lost his job due to the pandemic.

His application was successful and he received the $500 payout from the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) on 21 April.

Applied for Financial Assistance Scheme Two More Times

Mr Chow then used the same reason to apply for another financial assistance scheme in the following month.

This time round, he applied for the Covid-19 Support Grant.

Successful applicants will receive up to $800 for three months under this scheme for people who are affected by COVID-19.

In order to be considered, applicants are required to submit supporting documents such as letter of retrenchment or contract of termination.

As Mr Chow didn’t supply these documents while filing for his application (remember: he resigned and wasn’t retrenched), an MSF officer emailed him to ask for them.

He then forged a retrenchment letter and e-mailed it to the MSF officer on 14 May.

Mr Chow had copied the signature block of the human resource business partner, Mr Siddharth Narayanan, who was from his previous company, and inserted it at the bottom of the letter.

When the MSF officer contacted Mr Siddharth to find out more details, it was then revealed that the letter wasn’t written by him.


Mr Chow’s application was rejected.

After finding out that his application wasn’t successful a day later, Mr Chow tried applying again. He submitted the same forged letter together with his application.

The MSF officer then lodged a police report on 27 May.

Mr Chow pleaded guilty to one count of cheating and two counts of attempted cheating. He was sentenced to five months’ jail on 19 November.

The $500 Mr Chow had received has been refunded to the MSF.

What to Do if You’re Really Retrenched

If you’re really retrenched, watch this video to the end to know what you should do (and please subscribe to our YouTube channel for more informative videos!):


Featured Image: Anders Slaga Larsen /

How much cash are you getting in December 2023 from the Government? Here are the facts simplified for you:

Read Also: