Basseterre, St. Kitts, April 08, 2020 (SKNIS): The first disbursement of monies under the Social Security COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund will begin next week. The payments will be made to applications already processed.
The announcement was made by the Senior Minister and Minister of Labour and Social Security, the Honourable Vance Amory on Tuesday (April 07) night during the third Leadership Matters Virtual Town Hall Meeting.
The senior minister noted that employees at the St. Christopher and Nevis Social Security Social Board as well as the Department of Labour have been working diligently, while the nation is on lockdown, to process claims in an expeditious manner.
Claims are still being processed given the robust due diligence checks and the sheer number of applications.
“The Government of St. Kitts and Nevis and the private sector and the partnerships which have been forged are working together to move this process in the right direction to alleviate the distress which has been caused by COVID-19, as quickly as possible,” Minister Amory stated.
Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris commended the leadership of the senior minister in coordinating the many moving parts of this emergency wage relief.
“It is a $15 million programme to assist workers who would have suffered losses in income to the tune of $1,000,” Dr. Harris stated. “The beneficiaries will come from tourism, the self-employed, the taxi men, the hair braiders etc. All of them will be able to at least keep their head above water because the compassionate government that we have, we saw their need, and we have tried our best, in difficult circumstances of reduced inflows to the government, to social security, to be creative and to assist our workers.”
A statement from the Board notes that it proposes “to pay to each insured person who is laid off or unemployed including self-employed persons, as a result of the impact of COVID-19, EC$1000 per month for a period of 3 months in the first instance. These persons, though not in active employment, would also receive their contribution credits to ensure that they are not disadvantaged with respect to future benefit entitlements.”
Additionally, persons with a reduced income as a result of the impact of COVID-19 will receive a top-up of their income if it is below $1,000 at the end of the month. For instance, if a qualifying person earns $600 in total at the end of the month, then they will receive $400 from social security under this emergency wage relief programme.