Financial Assistance For Citizens During COVID-19 Pandemic

Financial Assistance For Citizens During COVID-19 Pandemic

The secondary effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, has been a great concern for many persons in Trinidad and Tobago.

During today’s post cabinet media briefing, Minister of Social Development and Family Services, Camille Robinson Regis briefed citizens on the implementation of various essentials that will assist those affected due to the temporary reduction in income or unemployment due to social containment efforts across the country.

At the briefing, The Honourable PM Dr. Keith Rowley stated that the HDC and TTMF will be asked to defer mortgage and rental payments for the period April into May from homeowners/ renters. (The PM stressed that this doesn’t mean you don’t pay, simply means payments are differed to you at a later date.)

Additionally;

  • Credit card interest rates reduced from 24/25% to 14/15% – rates may vary from bank to bank.
  • Ministry of Health announced 24,600 N95 masks delivered too Trinidad and Tobago today.
  • Health workers would be rotated to further assist in the pandemic.
  • The Repo rate will be decreased by CBTT – which basically means more money would be available in the system for access by local businesses.
  • Food card limited will increase, allowing recipients to receive additional funds for a period of three months in conjunction with the size of their households.

Minister, Camille Robinson Regis added that those who reside in a (3 persons) household will receive $150 in addition to their existing food grants. In those in households of 4 to 5 persons will receive $300 in additional funds and households containing 6 persons or more will receive $600.

Persons who are recipients of the public assistance and disability grants will also receive and added $150 to the monthly grants for a period of three months. Households that receive disability grants for two persons will receive $300 extra. $450 will be given to households receiving this grant with 3 affected persons. Those who receive grants for more than four persons will receive an $500 extra.

Children affected by the lapse in the school feeding program due to the prolonged closure of schools will be added to the list of food card recipients in the country. The measure was described by Regis as a means of ensuring the good health of the nation’s children.

“To ensure that the nutritional needs of those children are maintained as these children will not be at school and we must ensure that our children are well taken care of.” She said

Robinson Regis added that retrenched workers will be eligible to receive income support for three months under the public assistance grants. In cases where the main income earner of a family is unemployed or suffers a reduction in salary, those under 18 in the household will be considered necessitous allowing for the grant to be extended.

She also said that the development of policy to provide rental assistance to families in need was being done by the ministry. She said that subsistence grants would be issued to local NGO’s who deal with the socially displaced in light of the virus.

The cost of these measures was not yet quantified according to Finance Minister Colm Imbert.

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