More than $500k paid in unemployment assistance

More than half a million dollars in unemployment assistance was distributed on Friday to those self-employed persons in the tourism sector who now find themselves out of work due to the COVID-19 shutdown.

The National Insurance Board (NIB) said it paid $555,893.66 in the first tranche of payments to 1,494 recipients of the Government Unemployment Assistance

“Payments in the amount of $440,006.20 were made to 1,192 people via direct deposit,” NIB said in a statement yesterday.

“Additionally, checks were being run for 302 people totaling $115,887.46.

“NIB advised that where the recipient is in receipt of a pension, the weekly amount is deducted so that no more than $200 per week is paid to the individual for income support.”

The government has allocated $20 million for self-employed workers who may be adversely impacted by the closure of the country’s tourism sector due to the global spread of COVID-19, and said it expected up to 7,000 people to benefit from this assistance.

Up to last week Thursday, NIB said 2,666 people applied for the assistance.

Of that number, 943 applications were denied due to insufficient documentation while the remaining applications are still being processed.

“The majority of applicants supplied banking details to facilitate direct deposit payments,” NIB said.

“Persons who have had their applications denied, can reapply by attaching the necessary documents to the email notification received and their applications can be reconsidered.

“On Tuesday, 7th April, 2020, NIB will open its application process to other self-employed persons outside of the tourism sector who were impacted by the mandated shut down. These persons will need to be registered with NIB and have a valid business license.”

The government has allocated $5.5 million in assistance for self-employed persons outside of the tourism industry.

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