Financial Assistance and Supplemental Unemployment Benefit
The COVID-19 crisis continues to negatively impact both our local and world economies. Bermuda has experienced a contraction in its labour force.
During the peak of the State of Emergency, roughly 9,800 individuals found themselves either unable to work, laid off or unemployed. And while many have been re-employed, about half of those individuals have not yet returned to work.
The Government announced that the temporary unemployment benefit which was introduced at the onset of the Pandemic will transition persons to either Financial Assistance or a longer term unemployment support. The purpose of this transition is to ensure that persons who require ongoing assistance from government receive the appropriate level of support based on their personal and family circumstances. With the economic impact of the Pandemic continuing to affect many in Bermuda there will be persons in our community who remain in need of assistance to provide the necessities of life such as food, shelter, and health insurance. In order to be eligible for continued support, it is essential that persons who require ongoing support apply to Financial Assistance.
Many have asked why should they apply for financial assistance if they are not eligible due to the fact that they may own a property. The answer is that The Financial Assistance application will also be used to determine eligibility for the new supplementary benefit, so it is important that all individuals who require ongoing support complete the Financial Assistance application process. To be clear, only Bermudians and Spouses of Bermudians will be eligible for further benefits.
The Department of Financial Assistance began issuing applications on the first floor of Global House, 43 Church Street, Hamilton to persons in need of additional support. Individuals unable to collect an application are reminded to contact the Department to make alternative arrangements. For additional information, persons can call the Department of Financial Assistance Hotline at 297 7867.
When filling out the application, the forms must be 100% completed for the applicant to be considered for assistance. Once all the required information is on the form, they must be submitted in the mailbox located on the first floor in Global House.
The financial assistance process is necessarily rigorous. All applications will be vetted and applicants notified accordingly. Should it be determined that you are approved to receive continued assistance, you will begin receiving the approved monthly award payments. Please note that the Financial Assistance program is mainly ‘cashless’ meaning that vendors are paid directly for and on behalf of the client.
Also as a reminder, financial aid given is only a temporary measure to support those in need. As such, individuals who are receiving benefits must immediately notify the Government when they commence any form of employment as they will no longer be eligible.
Lastly, the public are advised that the Minister of Labour, the Hon. Jason Hayward, JP, MP, will hold a Facebook Live Session on the Bermuda Government’s Facebook Page tomorrow from 12:00 – 12:30 pm to answer any questions regarding financial assistance and the supplemental unemployment benefit.