JIS News

Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr. the Hon. Nigel Clarke, says grants totalling $3.6 billion have been transferred to persons applying for assistance under the Government’s COVID Allocation of Resources for Employees (CARE) Programme.

These recipients, Dr. Clarke says, include 337,000 of the 375,000 persons deemed eligible for Compassionate Grants, and 12,000 of 30,000 people qualifying for the Supporting Employees with Transfer of Cash (SET Cash) component for employees who have either been laid off or had their jobs terminated as at March 10, consequent on economic challenges resulting from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The Minister was providing an update during Sunday’s (May 31) National COVID-19 Response digital press conference, held at the Office of the Prime Minister Media Centre in Kingston.

Meanwhile, Dr. Clarke advised that 20,000 of another 50,000 applicants, whose bank account particulars have been rectified and validated to facilitate compassionate grant transfers, are slated to receive payments this week.

He said the CARE team administering the proceedings will continue working with the management of the financial institutions listed by the other applicants, in order to validate the remaining accounts.

“The CARE team will be in contact with the individual applicants… and we won’t stop until all eligible applicants are in receipt of their grants,” the Minister assured.

In the meantime, Dr. Clarke informed that 5,000 additional SET Cash grant transfers are slated to be made this week to applicants receiving miscommunication regarding their eligibility.

He explained that those persons were initially declared eligible after their employers uploaded the requisite P45 forms.

The Minister noted, however, that they were, subsequently, deemed ineligible consequent on information relating to payroll deductions reflected in April and May, which gave the impression that they were still employed.

This, Dr. Clarke pointed out, “definitely generated a stop [in the grant transfer arrangements] and need for further validation”.

He advised that Tax Administration Jamaica (TAJ) contacted more than 300 employers who had employees that were affected.

“As a result of that further validation, they were able to find that a lot of those payments that went through were residual payments to persons who were genuinely laid off [and] which should have been on the P45 forms,” he said, adding that they will receive the first of their SET Cash transfers this week.

Dr. Clarke also advised there are 19,000 SET Cash applicants that were laid off in April who will receive grant payments for the month, “and, of course, they will receive a payment next month, as well”.

He said the additional 19,000 persons will bring the total number of applicants receiving transfers to approximately 31,000 persons.

Dr. Clarke also indicated that $1.1 billion is being transferred under the CARE Programme to the Ministry of Labour and Social Security to supplement the Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH).

“So, PATH beneficiaries who would normally receive two payments between April and June will now receive three payments without the need to make any application,” he informed.

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