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Apr 14, 2020

Concerns About Accessing Unemployment Relief

Some of the concerns raised about the access to the COVID-19 unemployment relief programme are the lack of bank accounts and social security number. Some groups, mostly underprivileged homes, feel that system doesn’t capture them as a result of this. We asked Singh about those persons and how they fit in. He explains why those pieces of information are required – but noted that they are still trying to iron out the details for those who don’t have banking information.

 

On the Phone: Doug Singh, Chairman, S.S.B.

“The social security was utilized only for two purposes, one was for the verification process whether or not those persons were employed. And the second part was to assist with the disbursement. Primarily, it is to process the payment. As so far as to how the criteria were used to determine who qualifies whether or not they were self-employed and had a social security number or not is not in the domain of social security. In terms of the disbursement, those persons without a bank account do pose a challenge and that is something we are trying to work on. For example, the 1400 approved last week, we processed just over a thousand and fifty nine were returned for invalid banking information so either the accounts were given incorrectly or the account were closed or many different reasons. But these payments were rejected because they couldn’t be processed and I think that will be the circumstances with the new applications approved out of the 5,000. In addition to that, there are some people who have not given banking information because they don’t have any banking account. In such cases, we are trying to assist by seeing if we can work with Heritage Bank and Holy Redeemer Credit Union to issue debit cards to these individuals, whether we get the cards funded, get a pin number and they would have to activate the pin number and then we can fund those cards with the approved amount twice a month., But that is something we are working on but to be honest with you that is still in the process of being worked out so if individuals do not have current banking facilities, it will still take a little bit for us to get this up and running.    I think the total applications coming into the system is over sixty-two thousand, many of which don’t have complete information and in some cases there are duplicate applications so those are being filtered. The social security is inundated with people asking about their applications and in fact the social security doesn’t process those applications. So, the inquiries are being misdirected. But I just wanted to advise the public that if you are inquiring at social security about the status of your application, we cannot really help. So, if you are not getting a response from the emails there is because we are not in a position to respond to thousands of emails and secondly, we really don’t have an answer.”

 

As we said, Singh has now resigned from the S.S.B. following a candid interview with Belize Breaking News.


Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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