The Ministry of Finance says all is set for applications to open on Thursday, April 9, 2020 for Jamaicans to access relief COVID-19 assistance as part of the Government’s COVID-19 economic stimulus package (CARE). The COVID-19 Assistance initiative is being led under the $10 billion Covid Allocation of Resources for Employees (CARE) Programme. Applications will be submitted online and persons needing assistance may call the helpline 888-4WE-CARE (888-493-2273).
COVID-19 Assistance programmes and How to Apply
COVID-19 ASSISTANCE STUDENT LOAN RELIEF
Who can apply: The Covid-19 Student Loan Relief will provide a deferral of student loan principal and interest payments for 3 months (until July 2020) for loans outstanding to the Student Loan Bureau (SLB). No applications are necessary. The Covid-19 Student Loan Relief automatically applies to all persons repaying student loans to the SLB.
Eligibility: The Covid-19 Student Loan Relief automatically applies to all persons repaying student loans to the SLB.
Benefit: For loans currently in repayment, the SLB will waive late fees for the period April – June 2020 and the SLB will defer all loans in repayment – principal and interest – for three months, of April, May, June of 2020. Students in further need of assistance, can apply for a Covid-19 Compassionate Grant.
COVID-19 ASSISTANCE PATH GRANTS
Who can apply: Persons enrolled in PATH are scheduled to receive two (2) equal payments in the period April –June 2020. The PATH Covid Grant will add another payment of equal size increasing the total number of payments received in the April – June 2020 period to three (3).
SET CASH – SUPPORTING EMPLOYEES WITH TRANSFER OF CASH
The Supporting Employees with Transfer of Cash (SET Cash) Programme will provide temporary cash transfers to individuals where it can be verified that they lost their employment on or after March 10 2020.
Eligibility: Applicants were employed prior to March 10 and statutory deductions were paid on their behalf; were laid off or terminated after March 10 and before June 30. Evidence of this will be required in the form of a P45 form uploaded by their employer with the names and taxable incomes of all persons temporarily laid off or terminated.
How to apply: In addition to other necessary data, applicants will be required to provide name, address, TRN, name of employer, the date they were laid off or terminated, and to certify that their taxable income is less than or equal to $1.5 million per annum.
Benefits: Individuals who apply and qualify will receive $9,000 per fortnight, paid monthly from the month of their application through to June 2020. An applicant who applies in April and qualifies can therefore receive a grant of up to $54,000 spread equally over the months of April, May and June.
@AndrewHolnessJM: The CARE programme is designed to help cushion the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on individuals and businesses. The CARE Programme brochure is now available. Download a copy at http://wecare.gov.jm. Applications open online April 9th, 2020.
BEST CASH – BUSINESS EMPLOYEE SUPPORT & TRANSFER OF CASH
The Business Employee Support and Transfer of Cash (BEST Cash) Programme will provide temporary cash transfers to registered businesses operating within the tourism industry who are registered with the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCO) based on the number of workers they keep employed who are at or under the income tax threshold of $1.5 million per annum.
How to apply: Businesses will be able to apply online beginning April 9, 2020 via the www.wecare.gov.jm portal (on a computer or mobile phone). In addition to other necessary data, businesses will be required to provide name, address, Bank account information to facilitate payment, TRN of the business in addition to the number of employees retained who have taxable income less than or equal to $1.5 million.
Eligibility: is registered with TPDCO; is registered with Tax Administration Jamaica (TAJ) as having at least 1 employee; files payroll returns for April, May, and June evidencing the number of persons employed and verifiable via the submission of a revised S01 form in the RAIS Tax Administration System.
Benefit: Businesses who apply and qualify will receive $9,000 per fortnight for each employee retained on their payroll who has taxable income less than or equal to $1.5 million, as confirmed by TAJ. Payments will be made monthly for the months of April, May and June 2020 directly to the business’ bank account.
COVID-19 GENERAL GRANTS (Barbers, Hairdressers, Transport Operators, Craft Vendor, Bar and Night Club Operators)
The Covid General Grant of a onetime amount of $25,000 will be available to barbers, hairdressers, beauty therapists, cosmetologists, market vendors, taxi and bus operators (i.e. PPV licensees) who are registered with a Municipal or Transport Authority by April 30, 2020.
The Covid General Grant of a onetime amount of $40,000 will be available to bar and night club operators who are registered with a Municipal Authority by April 30, 2020.
The Covid General Grant of a onetime amount of $40,000 will be available to craft vendors, JUTA, MAXI and JCAL operators who are registered with the Tourism Product Development Company by April 30, 2020.
How to apply: Persons in the above occupational categories will be able to apply online beginning April 9, 2020 via the www.wecare.gov.jm portal (on a computer or mobile phone). In addition to other necessary data, businesses will be required to provide name, TRN, address, registration or license number and bank account information to facilitate payment.
COVID-19 COMPASSIONATE GRANTS ( Unemployed & Informally Employed)
Who can apply: The COVID Compassionate Grant is available to anyone in need (e.g. tertiary students, unemployed, informally employed, elderly, pensioners, etc.) who completes the required application form, is not formally employed, has not received, and does not intend to apply for any other cash benefit under the CARE Programme, with the exception of the Covid-19 PATH Grant.
How to apply: Persons can apply online beginning April 9, 2020 via the www.wecare.gov.jm portal (on a computer or mobile phone). In addition to other necessary data, individuals will be required to provide their name, TRN, address, and other information. Applicants who receive a Covid Compassionate Grant are ineligible for receipt of any other benefit under the CARE Programme, with the exception of the Covid-19 PATH Grant.
Benefit: All eligible applicants will receive a one-time grant of $10,000 paid to their bank account or to a remittance company of their choice for their collection.
@MOFJamaica: GOJ introduces the Covid Allocation of Resources for Employees (CARE) Programme, aimed at assisting individuals & businesses to cushion the economic impact of Covid-19. #WeCARE @DrNigelClarkeJa Download the CARE Programme Brochure at http://wecare.gov.jm
COVID-19 SMALL BUSINESS GRANTS
Who can apply: All small businesses with sales of $50 million or less, who filed taxes in the 2019/20 financial year, and who filed payroll returns indicating that they have employees, will be eligible for a one-time Covid Small Business grant.
Eligibility: A business will qualify for a small business grant if the business had average sales less than or equal to $50 million per annum for the 3-year period 2017-2019 must be a registered business which has filed tax returns for year of assessment 2019 financial year filed payroll taxes which indicate that it has employees and this is verifiable in the form of the revised SO1 form via the RAIS Tax Administration System.
Benefit: A business that applies and qualifies for a Covid Small Business Grant will receive a one-time grant of $100,000 paid within 30 days of application.
COVID-19 ASSISTANCE TOURISM GRANTS
Who can apply: Businesses operating in the tourism sector, inclusive of hotels, attractions and tours, which are registered with the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCO) will be eligible to apply for and receive a one-off grant from a pool of $1.2 billion allocated for that purpose.
Eligibility: To qualify for a grant , the business will need to submit the following information: up-to-date management accounts; projected cash-flow statement along with assumptions; brief recovery plan; statement of personal assets and liabilities; evidence of tax compliance.
Benefit: Businesses selected by the Covid Tourism Grant Committee will receive Covid Tourism Grants of varying sizes up to a set maximum.
Source: Follow The Gleaner on Twitter and Instagram @JamaicaGleaner and on Facebook @GleanerJamaica. Send them a message on WhatsApp at 1-876-499-0169 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.