The Ministry of Social Development and Family Services has confirmed that those who have applied for the grants for pensioners and for persons with disabilities, and whose applications are still outstanding, will be getting interim relief for three months.
The new measure will be effective from the middle of April 2020.
In an official statement on the matter, the Ministry explains that the measure will allow for cheques to be disbursed during the month of April, even though their applications have not been fully processed. One stage of the process involves home visits, which are not possible because of the current COVID-19 restrictions.
The full text of the Ministry’s statement, follows…
PENSION AND DISABILITY APPLICANTS TO RECEIVE INTERIM RELIEF FOR A PERIOD OF THREE MONTHS
Port of Spain — Persons who have applied for senior citizen’s pension as well as applicants for the disability assistance grant who are awaiting home visits to enable the finalisation of the processing of their applications, will receive interim relief for a period of three months effective Mid-April, 2020.
A number of people have expressed concern that current restrictions arising out of the shutdown of non-essential services and social distancing protocol—intended to curb the spread of COVID19—will further delay processing of their applications and were uncertain of the status of their application. Consistent with the Ministry’s policy, once a person applies for the above-mentioned grants, a level of verification is required, which involves officers visiting the applicants’ homes.
Given the need for social distance, the visits are not advisable at this time.
The new arrangement, which was recently approved by the Cabinet, will allow pension applicants to receive a sum of $1,500.00 per month for 3 months as interim relief, whilst those awaiting the disability grant approval will receive a sum of $1,000.00 per month for 3 months as interim relief.
These payments will be made during the month of April 2020 via cheques.
Pensioners are reminded that the requirement for the Life Certificate has been suspended until further notice.
The Ministry of Social Development and Family Services remains committed to ensuring the safety of the citizens it serves. Above all the ministry is committed to addressing the various needs of the vulnerable groups under its remit during this challenging period.