Unemployment benefits extended

  • Jason Hayward, the Minister of Labour (File photograph)

The Government’s unemployment benefits have been upped from 16 weeks to 18 weeks.

David Burt announced the extension yesterday. The next payments are set for the week after Cup Match, the Premier added.

The benefits period will end at different times for various recipients, since residents made jobless by the pandemic signed up at different times.

Anyone who has come off the programme after returning to work will not receive further benefits.

Those still in need after the end of benefits can apply to the Department of Financial Assistance for monthly aid.

Those not eligible for financial assistance may get help from a supplemental unemployment assistance programme.

Jason Hayward, the labour minister, is to give more details on the supplemental aid next week.

Mr Burt explained that the unemployment benefits had been given without means-testing, whereas financial assistance would be vetting clients.

The Premier added: “There’s going to be additional departments that are going to make that vetting process very quick.

“There’s a lot of information on persons already on unemployment benefit that can be transferred over to speed that vetting process.

“Overall we are confident we are going to be able to make that transition. What is key: we’re not going to allow people in this country to go hungry.”

Financial assistance applications may be collected from the lobby of Global House on Church Street, Hamilton, from Monday through Thursday.

A spokesman said supplemental benefits would “likely” be given to Bermudians or spouses of Bermudians, people who were recent recipients of unemployment benefits and those who had fully completed the application process for financial assistance — with other criteria to be shared later.