The Government announced plans to continue the newly created Supplementary Unemployment Benefits program until March 31, 2021 in light of the “many” people in our community who “still need assistance”.
Just how many “who do not qualify for the financial assistance programme, yet still require financial assistance from the Government”, has yet to be fully disclosed.
But the Minister of Labour, Jason Hayward said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has caused unemployment for thousands in our community, due to no fault of their own.”
Speaking at a news conference on Thursday, he said “the Government began implementing safety measures to protect the people of Bermuda” in March.
“We also immediately implemented the 16-week unemployment benefit to support families during this unprecedented time.
“Now, as the unemployment benefit comes to an end, the Government is aware that many in our community are still in need of assistance. To address this, the Government has created the Supplemental Unemployment Benefit and allocated funds to financially support individuals who remain in need.
“To be clear, the Supplementary Unemployment Benefit is only for Bermudians, and Spouses of Bermudians who do not qualify for support through the Department of Financial Assistance, yet still require financial assistance from the Government.
“To confirm eligibility for the Supplementary Unemployment Benefit, applicants must undergo a means test administered by the Department of Financial Assistance. But, it must be noted that the eligibility requirements for the Supplementary Unemployment Benefit are different from Financial Assistance, and determinations will be made based on individual merit. It is important to note that ineligibility for Financial Assistance does not mean a person will not be eligible for the Supplementary Unemployment Benefit.
“When applying, individuals need only submit one application to the Department of Financial Assistance. If an individual has already applied for Financial Assistance, no further application is required,” said Mr Hayward.
“All Supplementary Unemployment Benefit recipients will receive payments monthly. Those recipients who already have health insurance will receive a flat monthly payment, while persons without Health Insurance will receive their health insurance premium in addition to their flat monthly payment.
“The Supplementary Unemployment Benefits program is scheduled to run until March 31, 2021, and, as per the requirements for persons on any kind of government financial assistance programme, beneficiaries must immediately notify Government when commencing any form of employment.
“Lastly, in speaking with members of the public, I understand there is some confusion regarding the application process.”
To clarify, the Minister said: “I will walk “through the process step by step.”
- 1. Individuals wishing to apply must first collect an application from the Department of Financial Assistance, located on the first floor of Global House, 43 Church Street, Hamilton.
- 2. If you are unable to collect an application, you may contact the Department of Financial Assistance Hotline at 297-7867 to make alternative arrangements.
- 3. The application must be taken away and 100% completed to be considered for assistance.
- 4. Once filled out, the application and any necessary documents must be submitted to the Department of Financial Assistance mailbox located on the first floor of Global House.
- 5. All applications received will be vetted and applicants will be notified of their status accordingly.
In closing, the Minister added: “If your application is successful, you will begin receiving the approved monthly award payments using a cashless system that deposits the payments directly into your bank account.”