Five thousand more to benefit from unemployment extension program

The National Insurance Board (NIB) anticipates it will be able to assist an additional 5,000 workers who were previously ineligible for assistance.

The previous requirement for eligibility for assistance was that a worker must have been laid off after lockdown measures came into effect, however the government’s Unemployment Assistance Program will cover some workers laid off before then, NIB stated.

“The National Insurance Board, after consultation with the Ministry of Finance, is pleased to advise that the

Government Unemployment Extension Programme will be extended to persons whose last day at work was Friday, March 13, 2020. Our previous pre-enrolled customers included only those persons who were laid off after the lockdown as at March 23, 2020,” NIB said in a statement.

“Some 28,800 persons were pre-enrolled in the program and with this expansion NIB estimates that another 5,000 persons will now become eligible, bringing the total eligible enrollment to just over 33,800 persons. If you have received an ‘ineligible’ response and your last day of work was on, or after, Friday, March 13, 2020, NIB will now enroll you in the program and requests that you check back on the portal to see an updated status.”

As he wrapped up debate on the 2020/2021 budget debate last month, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis announced that the government would allocate $40 million to extend its unemployment assistance program an additional 13 weeks.

The government initially made in excess of $10 million available to be disbursed through the National Insurance Board (NIB), to self-employed workers in the tourism industry and then other self-employed Bahamians adversely impacted by the lockdown.

Up to the first week in June, NIB had paid out $9,084,705 million to 6,763 applicants of the government’s Unemployment Assistance Programme.

It is estimated that more than 40,000 workers had been furloughed as a result of the pandemic. 

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