Over 4,000 citizens still waiting on COVID relief grants

Over 4,000 citizens still waiting on COVID relief grants

A total of 4,721 citizens are still awaiting COVID-19 relief grants from government.

The grants were to be paid through the Ministry of Social Development and Family Services for a three-month period and citizens had up to December 4, 2020, to apply for them.

But during the Public Administration and Appropriation Committee meeting yesterday, which was examining the ministry’s response to the pandemic, the committee was told by Deputy permanent secretary in the ministry Vijay Gangapersad that “The outstanding numbers to be paid up to the period in question (November 30) is 4,721 persons. That is the outstanding numbers to be paid income and food support (grants).”

The committee was told that as of November 30, 2020, the ministry has paid $351,928,855 in COVID-19 relief grants. These were spread across the categories of food support, hampers, food vouchers, income support and rental assistance.

Permanent Secretary Sheila Seecharan indicated that these applications had already been processed and the ministry was awaiting the release of funding.

Gangapersad said the ministry’s monthly expenditure on core services was typically around $475 million.
Giving a breakdown, he said “For the senior citizens’ pension, we spend $350 million dollars on a monthly basis. The disability assistance grant- $47.9 million dollars on a monthly basis. The disability assistance grant for children $4 million on a monthly basis. The public assistance grant, we spend $7.8 million dollars on a monthly basis. And food support $16.7 million on a monthly basis.”

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