The Ministry of Social Development and Family Services is re-introducing the Direct Deposit system for clients who are in receipt of disability assistance, public assistance grants, and senior citizens’ pension.
A statement from the ministry said for March, approximately 18,000 recipients will joint the already 37,685 recipients who already receive their payments this way.
All beneficiaries transferring to the direct deposit system of payment will be notified one month prior to the transition as the system is being implemented on a phased basis, the ministry said. The initiative was piloted in 2013, and back then over 50 per cent of pensioners (approximately
36,781 positively responded to the receipt of their grant through direct deposit to their banks.
The ministry said the system provides a safe, reliable and preferred means for recipients to receive their funds.
“During the roll out of the Direct Deposit System, clients will be asked to complete an application form and return it to the nearest TTPost delivery or retail office or a Social Welfare Local Board office in their respective region.
“Clients are also required to attach their bank account information and a copy of their computer-generated birth certificate, which will be used to update their existing records. For persons with disabilities who may not be able to open a bank account, special arrangements will be made by the ministry to ensure that funds related to the disability grant are uninterrupted. Persons who may wish to use existing credit union accounts will also be allowed to do so for the direct deposit.”
The ministry said the decision to use the direct deposition system was expected to address the challenges encountered by beneficiaries in using the cheque system.
“It is also a response by the ministry to numerous complaints received from clients of lost, stolen or damaged cheques in the recent past,” the statement said.
A comprehensive communications plan is also developed to inform new and existing clients of the changes.
The ministry also said it has since started a Premium Client Care initiative which will also include a retraining exercise for staff at Social Welfare offices to ensure a smooth transition to the new system.
“These changes are expected to come into full effect by the end of this year as the ministry seeks to provide its clients with a sustainable, secure and reliable option for the delivery of financial assistance.”
As part of the direct deposit system, cheques are deposited directly into the bank accounts of clients.
Persons should call Hotline number at 800-1MSD (800 – 1673) or visit a Social Welfare Office in their region for further information on this initiative or log on to www.social.gov.tt.