J$2.65 Billion in Compassionate Grants has been paid out to about 265,000 CARE Programme applicant. Over 3000 daily calls continued to be processed by Sutherland Global Customer support response. Prospective applicants and applicants are reminded that they can also send an email to [email protected].
Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr. the Hon. Nigel Clarke, says approximately $2.65 billion in Compassionate Grants payments have been made to date to some 265,000 applicants under the Government’s COVID Allocation of Resources for Employees (CARE) Programme.
In a statement on Monday (May 11), Dr. Clarke advised that the funds were disbursed through more than 40 financial institutions selected by the applicants, noting that “many persons elected to receive their Compassionate Grants from remittance companies”.
Dr. Clarke reminded beneficiaries receiving payments through remittance agencies that they must present a government-issued photo identification, their taxpayer registration number (TRN) and application reference number, in order to collect the funds.
“Where you do not have a government-issued ID and you are on the printed voters’ list, you can contact the Electoral Office of Jamaica (EOJ), which will be open from Wednesday, May 13,” he indicated.
He said that the Government is exploring options to facilitate third-party collection of grants for persons over 65 years old. Meanwhile, Dr. Clarke said payments under the Supporting Employees with the Transfer of Cash (SET Cash) component are slated to commence this week.
This component of the Compassionate grant CARE programme is for persons earning $1.5 million or less, whose employment was terminated after March 10.
He pointed out that persons earning above $1.5 million, who are on the tax register, may have an opportunity for an unemployment refund. He encouraged persons falling in this category to contact Tax Administration Jamaica (TAJ), noting that “more information will be forthcoming”.
Dr. Clarke, in his statement, addressed challenges reportedly being experienced by some employers in uploading the requisite P45 forms to enable former employees to access SET Cash grants.
He explained that if the termination date inputted by the employer was prior to March 10, the system will reject the Compassionate Grant application. Furthermore, the system will first process persons laid off in March prior to those laid off in April.
There will be a second round of payments for persons laid off between April 1 and April 30, 2020.
Dr. Clarke advised that applicants whose employers have submitted a Business Employee Support and Transfer of Cash (BEST Cash) application on their behalf are not eligible for SET Cash grants.
“The Government will be transferring cash to these employers [who submitted BEST Cash applications], which they will remit to their employees,” he explained.
In the meantime, the Minister said eligibility verification for General Grant applicants is now in progress.
This is being prepared via the collation of applicants’ data from, inter alia, the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport; Municipal Corporations; the Early Childhood Commission; and Transport Authority.
“In some cases, the Auditor General’s Department is conducting a review before Compassionate Grants and other CARE payments can [be made]; so this may lead to some delays,” he pointed out. He said that the verification exercise is expected to be completed in May, with eligible applicants being notified accordingly.
The $10-billion CARE Programme aims to alleviate the economic impact of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic on individuals and entities.
It forms part of the $25-billion relief package initiated by the Government to deal with the health crisis.
“The CARE Programme (Compassionate Grant) continues to benefit from the strong customer support response being provided by Sutherland Global with call volumes exceeding 3,000 per day. Prospective applicants and applicants are reminded that they can also send an email to [email protected],” Dr. Clarke said.