(Image courtesy Ministry of Social Development and Family Services)

The Ministry of Social Development and Family Services is urging members of the public attempting to access its services—which have been deemed “essential” under the current Public Health Ordinance for COVID-19—to practise social / physical distancing, in those instances where they must go to the district offices.

It also encourages citizens to use the online and telephone options, which have been created for its various services.

Details follow in this official statement from the Ministry…

SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT MINISTRY URGES PHYSICAL DISTANCING

Port of Spain — The Ministry of Social Development and Family Services was listed under essential services following the implementation of the stay at home initiative of the Government on March 30th.

Being the Government agency that deals with the country’s most vulnerable at this time, the Ministry is working with its various stakeholders, to ensure that the necessary adjustments are being made to address the needs of all existing clients and those persons who may now be in need of social welfare benefits. 

Among the adjustments made are the distribution of welfare and pension cheques to households by TTPOST from April 1, 2020, and the assignment of additional customer service representatives at all Local Boards to deal with persons accessing the COVID-19 Social Support Grants.

Consistent with its ongoing efforts to minimize crowding and practice physical distancing to ensure the continued good health of its staff and the general public, the Ministry has instituted the following:

  • Persons are encouraged to call instead of coming to the office. 
  • Persons will be allowed into the district offices in groups of five (5) at a time, and persons who are waiting are being assisted by the TTPS to keep appropriate physical distances. 
  • Call Centres have been set up to receive calls from members of the public who are seeking information on the Social Support Measures or emergency food support.
  • Persons may also use the TTConnect’s Chatbot feature which is available on the Ministry’s website www.social.gov.tt to get real time information and responses to their queries.
  • Persons may also utilize the Ministry’s hotline numbers 800-1673, 800-6742 or 623-2608 ext. 1120 and 1132.

The Ministry encourages online applications for the COVID-19 social support grants in keeping with government’s stay-at-home directive. However, where necessary, persons may collect forms and return the completed forms to drop boxes located at the Local Board offices. 

The Ministry of Social Development and Family Services continues to practice good social responsibility in ensuring that its various clients are serviced expeditiously during this challenging time, and wishes to thank members of the public for their continued cooperation, as we work together to flatten the curve in Trinidad and Tobago.