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‘We will not see people go hungry in Bermuda’

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The labour minister announced a supplementary unemployment benefit yesterday to help Bermudians who lost employment because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Jason Hayward said that the scheme would assist those who were on the previous 18-week unemployment benefit and did not qualify for the Financial Assistance programme, but still needed help.

Mr Hayward admitted that the unemployment benefit, which will run until March 31 next year, and the Financial Assistance programme would cost the Government a total of $2.5 million a month.

But he added: “Where there are people in this community and this country that need it, the Government will do all it can to provide assistance to those individuals.

“We will not see people go hungry in Bermuda.”

Mr Hayward added: “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.”

The original emergency unemployment benefit, which ended last week, was intended to be a 12-week-long programme, but was extended to 16 weeks and later to 18 weeks.

Mr Hayward said that people who applied to the supplementary unemployment benefit had to take a “means test” from the Department of Financial Assistance to determine eligibility for the programme.

Applicants can pick up forms from the department and submit it to the Department of Financial Assistance mailbox.

Mr Hayward said that every question asked on the application must be completed and that any additional documents asked for must be submitted.

People who cannot pick up a print copy of the form should call the Department of Financial Assistance to make alternative arrangements. Those who need help completing the forms should visit the Department of Financial Assistance in person and speak with a receptionist.

Unemployment benefit recipients will get once a month payments to their bank accounts.

People who have health insurance will get a flat rate of $1,520, and those without will get an additional health insurance benefit of $429.

My Hayward said that people on the scheme must tell the Government when they have started employment.

He added that those who have applied for financial assistance do not need to submit an application for the supplementary benefit.

Mr Hayward said that people could still be eligible for the supplementary benefit and not eligible for financial assistance.

He explained that homeowners and other property owners were eligible for the supplementary benefit, but would not be able to claim financial assistance.

He added: “I encourage everyone who needs assistance to please go through the process.”

Applications should be delivered to the first floor of AB Global House on Church Street in Hamilton. The Department of Financial Assistance can be contacted at 297-7867

To view the Minister of Labour's statement in full, click on the PDF link under “Related Media”

Labour minister Jason Hayward speaks at a press conference yesterday (Photograph supplied)

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Published August 21, 2020 at 9:00 am (Updated August 21, 2020 at 9:26 am)

‘We will not see people go hungry in Bermuda’

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