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Over $15 Million Paid In Unemployment Benefit

Over $15 million has been paid out as part of the unemployment benefit programme since its launch on March 25th, Minister of Labour, Community Affairs and Sports Lovitta Foggo said.

Speaking during last night’s [May 4] press briefing, Minister Foggo said, “Last week some 2,500 applicants who have not previously received the payment of their benefit before were paid together with those that have been paid previously and were still eligible. The total paid last week was $7.2 million. Since the launch of the fund on the 25th March 2020, some 7,500 have been paid the benefit totalling over $15 million.

“My colleagues and I on a daily basis hear heart wrenching stories of Bermudian families who are struggling to put food on the table, let alone pay their utility and other bills. We hear you.

“The Minister of Finance last week amended the regulations for the unemployment benefit to expand those who qualify to include those self-employed persons who were not previously registered with the Office of the Tax Commissioner. They can now apply for the benefit after registering with the Office of the Tax Commissioner and will be eligible for a benefit of $300 per week for up to 12 weeks.

“I am aware of the frustration of some, who are not self-employed, who have applied and have not received their benefit yet. There are more than 90 people from multiple government departments working to process outstanding payments. More persons were brought on last week and we will keep on working until all persons who are eligible receive the assistance they require.

“As I mentioned last Monday, if you applied for the benefit on or before the 6th April and at the end of last week had not received any benefit, or been advised that you are ineligible, then you should contact the call centre for assistance.

“We have updated the call center to ensure that calls are routed to the next available customer service representative. Please call 297-7714 and 297-7716 during normal business hours which have been upgraded to handle the volume of calls.

“The Unemployment Benefit Form can be found at www.gov.bm. Emails can also be sent to unemploymentbenefit@gov.bm for assistance.

“I commend those businesses that have stood by the employees during this very difficult time. A number, despite having little or no income during the stay in place period, have kept their staff on the payroll and their employee’s health insurance in place. These companies have put their employees first and I wish to sincerely thank them for this.

“Finally, with the Shelter in place ended we are seeing some residents going back to work. If you are back at work and had applied for the unemployment benefit, then you must notify Workforce Development and can do so by email to unemploymentbenefit@gov.bm including your name, social insurance number, date of birth and the date that you began work. Thank you.”