In March 2020, the Government implemented additional social protections in the form of a 16-week Unemployment Benefit. The benefit was designed to protect and support individuals and families during an unprecedented time of need, as a result of the COVID 19 pandemic.
Months later, as the 16- week unemployment benefit came to an end, the Government was cognisant that many persons within our community were still in need of assistance. To address this, the Government introduced the Supplemental Unemployment Benefit (SUB) and allocated funds to support families and individuals who remained in need of assistance. Originally scheduled to run until March 31, 2021, the SUB was extended to June 30, 2021.
The November 2020 Labour Force Survey released towards the end of June was a stark reminder of the impact this pandemic has had on Bermuda. Accepting the reality that many remain unemployed and individuals and families will continue to need support. I am pleased to announce that the Supplementary Unemployment Benefit has been extended to March 31, 2022.
As a reminder, the Supplementary Unemployment Benefit is only for Bermudians and Spouses of Bermudians who do not qualify for support through the Department of Financial Assistance yet still require financial support from the Government. It is a temporary lifeline to those who are in financial need.
All Supplementary Unemployment Benefit recipients will receive monthly payments. Those recipients who already have health insurance will receive a flat monthly stipend, and persons without health insurance will receive coverage by the Health Insurance Department in addition to their flat monthly payment. Recipients will receive a monthly flat rate of $1,520 deposited directly into the individual’s bank account or funds can be directly paid to vendors on behalf of clients.
I urge members of the public who remain unemployed or are in need of assistance to apply online by visiting forms.gov.bm and complete the Supplemental Unemployment Benefits Application. If you are unable to complete the form online, you can also obtain an application package from the Department of Financial Assistance which must be fully completed and submitted with all the required documents.
Since the inception of this programme, the Government has provided over $1 million dollars in Supplemental Unemployment Benefits to 127 individuals. This Government will continue to be unwavering in our support to individuals and their families in times of need.
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