As of November 20, there were an estimated 2,163 people on Financial Assistance in Bermuda and most of them are senior citizens.

The latest figures were released by the Minister of Labour, Jason Hayward, at a joint news conference held on Monday (Nov 30) with the Minister of Finance, Curtis Dickinson.

According to Mr Hayward, the breakdown is as follows:

  • 141 are able-bodied unemployed
  • 769 are disabled
  • 223 have low earnings; and
  • 1,030 are pensioners

The Minister also stated that there are 117 children on the Financial Assistance Child Day Care Program, which was unchanged from the prior period.

“Regarding the total number of persons on the Supplemental Unemployment Fund, I can advise that over the same period, the number of beneficiaries have decreased to 58,” he added.

“This represents a decrease of 36 persons receiving benefits, down from the previous month when we reported that there were 94 recipients. Please note that the decrease in numbers is attributed to 36 persons receiving their redundancy payments.

“In accordance with the relevant Regulations, the amounts received deemed them no longer eligible for the Supplemental Unemployment Benefits.”

Mr Hayward also addressed what he termed “the primary concern from the Ministry and Department of Financial Assistance”.

“There remain a number of applicants that fail to complete the applications in FULL. I cannot stress it enough, the importance of completing the application in full.

“This trend continues to occur, resulting in significant delays, time wasting, and most importantly, the inability of Government to provide support to those in need.”

More often then not, he said the incomplete areas of the application include:

  • 1 Unsigned forms
  • 2 No Social Insurance Number
  • 3 No Social Insurance Number for the Landlord, which is again in accordance with Government financial instructions to verify and ensure the correct person is paid; and
  • 4 No bank verification details for the Landlord

“There have also been incidents of dishonesty, with some applicants attempting to hide assets or failing to report all members of the household,” he added.

“Despite the few who try to take advantage of the system, most are honest citizens doing their best to provide for themselves and their families.

“To these persons, I want to remind you that the Government is here to provide assistance in your time of need, but you must do your part and ensure all information is provided in the application in order for you to have a chance of receiving the benefits.

“Regarding individuals receiving redundancy packages and as a result are no longer on Financial Assistance. I encourage you use the money wisely and responsibly. Use it to take care of your outstanding debts, to provide items you or your family need, or secure a brighter future for your loved ones.

“Unlike the COVID pension relief withdrawals – the redundancy packages are factored in the assessment calculations. This means that many persons will not be eligible for continued Financial Assistance awards as set out in Section 3 of the Financial Assistance Regulations 2004,” said the Minister.

“Clients for Financial Assistance and the SUB are reminded that any changes in their circumstances MUST be reported immediately. Examples include a change of address, change in banking details, change of employment status, or recent travel.”

We’ll have more in subsequent reports.