“You know, additionally, we are putting on 500 persons with the Interim Assistance (Benefit) at Social Development. These are $200 each month until the end of December. But the idea is, in the next budget cycle, to have these 500 persons go on public assistance because we have to keep the social safety net strong.”

Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves made the comment on Tuesday as he gave an update on the $74 million Recovery and Stimulus Package approved by parliament in April to respond to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Dr Gonsalves said the Ministry of National Mobilization will be adding 500 persons to the existing public assistance, commonly called ‘Poor Relief,’ programme – a programme which has over 6,000 persons.

The Interim Assistance Benefit is said to be a programme to assist persons who have become vulnerable as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and those persons who were otherwise not captured on the public assistance list.

Minister of Finance Camillo Gonsalves at a recent press conference stated: “This is not something you can say you’re disqualified because you’re too young or you’re disqualified because your friend has a job, or somebody else in the house has a job or whatever. Go in and apply and the Ministry of Welfare will process your claim for an Interim Assistance Benefit.”

Rush on at social Welfare office to get registered for $200 benefit

Prime minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves on Tuesday said the applicants were scheduled to start receiving monies today, Thursday. 

“I think on Thursday they’re gonna pay about 450 – 446 I think is the number – in the various places as they normally will do public assistance payments. And Monday I think they will do the other 54. 

“I think there’s a delay with some names they were going through. But, they don’t have to wait until they have everybody names, until they finish all the processes,” Prime Minister Gonsalves said.