Persons who are self-employed can now apply for grants over COVID-related loss of jobs or income.

The Ministry of Social Development and Family Services issued a statement Tuesday evening with the announcement.

The following is the statement by the Ministry.

“The Social Support Measures that have been implemented by the Ministry of Social Development and Family Services (MSDFS) which include Food Support, Rental Assistance and Income Support continue to be available to persons who were retrenched or terminated or were self- employed and now have no income, since on or after March 1st, 2020.

Those who apply to the Ministry of Social Development must not be registered with the National Insurance Board.

Following several queries as to eligibility, it has become necessary to reiterate that amongst such persons would be members of sporting pro leagues, cultural artistes, those in the entertainment industry, taxi drivers, domestic workers, tradesmen to name some of the categories.

The Ministry of Social Development and Family Services wishes to advise further that once persons are able to produce the required documentation, namely a national identification card, a job letter or evidence via one referee that they were self-employed, and owing to the pandemic are no longer employed or that they were retrenched, terminated of have experienced a loss of income, then they should apply to the Ministry. Applicants are reminded that applications are for one person per household.

Already in excess of 4000 applications have already been received and are being processed. The Ministry takes this opportunity to remind persons who are desirous of applying, that one person per household may apply; that application forms are accessible for completion online, via the websites of ALL Government Ministries and also at local Government Municipal Corporations. Additionally application forms may also be accessed via the Social Welfare District Offices and from designated Police stations throughout the country.

The preferred method for the submission of applications is online and submission via email. However, the Ministry is cognizant that there may be persons who have no access to the internet, or scanning services and so, completed forms can be returned to the Social Welfare District Offices closest to where they reside in dire situations.

Persons requiring assistance to complete the forms may obtain same from the Ministry’s Call Centre  and through the TTConnect Chat Box facility for completion of the form.

In the coming week, the Call Centre will be further upgraded to bring greater capacity and an online fillable form will be introduced to facilitate submission of the form online.

The Ministry wishes to reassure the public that given the fact that the Social Support measures will impact a significant portion of the population, in such an unprecedented environment, payment of these grants will be made expeditiously once the applicants are eligible.”