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Minister says payment delays due to incomplete documents

Benefit of the doubt: Curtis Dickinson, the Minister of Finance (File photograph by Blaire Simmons)

Government has paid out more than $5 million in unemployment benefits in the last six months as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Curtis Dickinson the Minister of Finance, revealed the figure in a statement last night.

It came in response to claims that his department was failing to make payments to those unable to work as a result of last month’s Stay At Home order.

Mr Dickinson said: “From December of 2020 through May 17, 2021, approximately 4,400 applications for unemployment benefit support have been approved by the Government of Bermuda, and over 4,100 individuals have received benefits totalling $5.1 million.

“Subject to receipt of the required information and their eligibility period, these persons have received their early May payments. We expect to send initial benefits to the 300 additional approved individuals this week.”

“To provide support during periods of Covid-related restrictions in December 2020 and again in March 2021, $2.1 million has been paid to 800 employees of bars, restaurants, members clubs and nightclubs whose income has been substantially reduced.

“Another $500,000 has been paid to people who were required to serve a 14-day mandatory medical quarantine and were unable to work remotely.”

The minister added that in the last two months $230,000 has been paid to 100 staff of businesses such as gyms and sports clubs forced to close because of safety regulations.

He added that a further $2.2 million had been paid to 3,000 workers laid off after a shutdown was enforced on April 13.

He said the Ministry of Finance is aware that approximately 600 employee applications have not been confirmed and submitted by their employers. The regulations require employer verification. Employees who have not received unemployment benefits should confirm that their employer has received and submitted their application, he said.

Mr Dickinson urged applicants still waiting to be paid to check the forms they had submitted to Government.

He said there were approximately 300 people with incomplete information on application forms who had not provided the required documents to process their payments. He said These applicants would have received an email from unemploymentbenefitsteam@gov.bm requesting the necessary documents to complete their application.

He said: “If you and your employer have submitted an application and you have not received funds or notice of approval, please check the e-mail you provided for this request, as we cannot pay you without this documentation.

“The Ministry of Finance is aware of numerous cases where e-mails have been caught in people's spam or junk e-mail, so please check.

“Each person is required to confirm their employment status before receiving additional payments.

“E-mail reminders have been sent to all relevant persons in this regard. These persons should respond as quickly as possible to these e-mails to allow for timely progress of additional payments.

Minister Dickinson said that ministry staff had “worked tirelessly” to get payments out.

He said: “The Government continued to show its support for the people of Bermuda through these four benefit programmes over the past five months.

“It will continue to work with individuals, companies and industries to sustain our people and economy through these challenging times.”

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Published May 20, 2021 at 8:06 am (Updated May 20, 2021 at 8:06 am)

Minister says payment delays due to incomplete documents

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