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Minister: $43M Paid In Unemployment Benefit

Finance Minister Curtis Dickinson confirmed that unemployment benefits have been paid to over 10,100 persons for a total cost to date of approximately $43 million.

Speaking at last night’s [July 2] press briefing, Minister Dickinson said, “The term of the unemployment benefits has been extended for an additional 4 weeks, for a total of 16 weeks.

“Last week, the Ministry of Finance authorized unemployment benefit payments to 6,420 people for a total of $5,518,000. We now have paid benefits to over 10,100 for a total cost of approximately $43 million.

“We expect further payments to continue on a bi-weekly schedule, which means another payment on Friday, July 10.

“As mentioned earlier, we continue to make progress to resolve problem applications, and last week we paid 332 applicants for the first time.

“Approximately 4,500 people have notified the Department of Workforce Development that they have returned to work, and they are no longer receiving unemployment benefits. Our expectation is that this number will continue to grow as Bermuda enters its second week of Phase Four and government continues to actively explore and implement actions to get our people back to work.

“I want to reiterate that all individuals and companies must notify the Government of your return to work to confirm your eligibility period.

“Please visit www.bermudajobboard.com, follow the link at the top for COVID-19 Unemployment Application, then the link at the top for the Back to Work form. For those that have already done so, we thank you for the act of responsible citizenship.

“For those who have returned to work and have not informed us, I want to make one point very clear: if this government determines that individuals and employers are not informing the government in a timely manner of their return to work, causing the government to “overpay” individuals, this government will utilize all of its powers outlined in the Regulations to claw back funds that have been paid to individuals that are no longer eligible for unemployment benefits. As we continue to work together as a community, to restart and rebuild our economy, it should be viewed as unacceptable and irresponsible for individuals that are back to work, and no longer eligible to accept unemployment benefits.”