INCOME and food support will be provided from Thursday to people who have been retrenched, terminated or are receiving less income as a result of the covid19 pandemic. Social Development and Family Services Minister Camille Robinson-Regis made the announcement at a virtual news conference on Wednesday.
She said the Labour Ministry received approximately 4,000 applications from people in this category. Robinson-Regis said the validated applications have been sent to her ministry for processing. “Payments will commence from Thursday April 9.”
Saying over 5,000 application forms have been printed, Robinson-Regis said people are asked to access the forms online. For those people who have no internet access, she said those forms would be distributed at police stations. She explained online access was being recommended in accordance with social distancing to prevent the spread of covid19. Robinson-Regis also said salary relief grant forms, being issued by the Finance Ministry, would also be available at police stations for those who have no internet access.
She added 100 food hampers are in place at all 14 local government corporations for distribution to families who are “in dire need of food items during the stay-at-home period and who were affected by the additional measures being implemented until April 30, 2020.” For people who are unable to access the school feeding food cards, Robinson-Regis said, “We will make these hampers, which are in value close to the food card, available.”
She added that a special call centre service was introduced for that purpose.
The minister said counselling and psychosocial support are available for victims of domestic violence and any form of abuse “which may be on the increase, given the ‘stay-at-home’ measures taken to flatten the curve against covid19.” She said any incident of domestic violence should be reported to the relevant authorities “particularly during this time in order to receive immediate assistance and support.”
The ministry continues to honour its commitment to its existing beneficiaries.
“We continue to make payments to 168,950 people on time and in the correct amount on a monthly basis.
The estimated monthly expenditure is $436,000,000 to grant recipients,” Robinson-Regis said.
She added that her ministry and the government are doing their best to ensure the most vulnerable in society receive the help they need during the covid19 pandemic.