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How to apply for financial assistance

Local News 01 Nov, 2023 Follow News

Hon Andre Ebanks

All applications for financial assistance under the new laws that will be brought in next month will be undertaken through the Department of Financial Services’ application portal. All applicants will receive a decision on their application within 10 working days. If those in need cannot apply by themselves, the regulations allow for a representative to be assigned (for younger people or the elderly, for example). There is a reconsideration and appeals process as well, that can take place during the applications stage.

The application is made online, then all that information will go into the Department where they will conduct document checking, then they will go back to the applicant for any further information needed. Once all documents have been filed, the system will go through the eligibility process, removing any perceived bias of an individual assessing the process, all of which will be overseen by a manager.

If a person’s application is approved, they will be assigned an officer and communicated a decision.

Types of funding

There are varying types of funding available, depending on an individual or family’s needs. They may include long term financial assistance, to a maximum of $1,250 per month. Accommodations assistance will be up to $3,000 a month, based upon the number of people in the household. Medical expenses are only provided when it is not covered by insurance. The maximum levels of financial assistance for water and electricity have also been increased to take into consideration recent price hikes in utilities. New assistance is now available for transportation, internet and phones for those eligible, which was not previously provided. Financial assistance is paid directly to the vendor, so rent is made directly to the landlord, electricity to CUC, and so on.

The duration of financial assistance is dependent on the applicant’s circumstances. For example, assistance for an elderly person or a disabled person can be approved for a three year period as they would be in need of long-term support; however, for someone who is only in temporary need may be granted approval for three months. For people working but with dependents (such as children), the approval maybe a year. Mortgage and rentals are both covered under accommodation, so, for example, the Department can support elderly people if they have a mortgage but have been unable to pay, or for people who are temporarily unemployed and cannot pay their mortgage while they are unemployed, the idea being to ensure people keep their home during difficult times, but assistance will only be granted within the maximum amount of $3,000.

Case management

When someone is approved, they will receive an interim decision so the Department can conduct a case management meeting with the adults in the household to explain the conditions of the financial assistance, and check that these conditions are met and that there are no barriers to meeting the conditions. The new legislation states that financial assistance can be varied, suspended or revoked. Once their case has been received, applicants will have access to transparent information. The case management meetings can take place to suit the applicant’s needs, such as at their home, at the Department, or somewhere else. Conditions can include seeking employment, mental health assessment, and parenting support.

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