$39.8 Million For Financial Assistance

February 26, 2012

The budget for financial assistance this coming year is $39.8 million, Minister Glenn Blakeney said at the press conference following the Budget on Friday [Feb.24].

Minister Blakeney said, “The government recognizes that there is a continuing need to provide assistance to members of our community who find themselves in a financial deficit in their day to day lives. Accordingly, the budget allocated for Financial Assistance (including Child Day Care allowance) for 2012-13 is $39.8 million.”

Minister Blakeney said, “As at December 2011, the key statistics for Financial Assistance were:

  • Number of persons on Financial Assistance – 1363
  • Seniors – 522; persons with disabilities – 523; earnings low – 188; able-bodied unemployed – 130.
  • 21% of seniors on Financial Assistance live in a rest or nursing home
  • Average caseload per Financial Assistance worker – 143
  • Number of parents receiving Child Day Care allowance – 300
  • Number of children in Child Day Care allowance programme – 359″

“Some seniors are experiencing financial hardship because they are ineligible to receive Financial Assistance benefits due to the fact that they are property owners,” continued the Minister.

“The November 2011 speech from the throne indicated that government would review the eligibility criteria for financial assistance in order to ensure that the mere fact of home ownership by seniors does not justify denial of financial assistance.

“Amendments to the Financial Assistance Regulations 2004 came into effect on the 1st Spril 2011 and changed eligibility criteria such that any applicant with assets [inclusive of interest in real property] exceeding $5,000.00 would not be eligible to receive Financial Assistance,” said Minister Blakeney.

“It has been observed that the amended regulations have had an adverse impact on seniors who are homeowners or who have an interest in real property, even though it was not intended to disadvantage such persons.

“Consequently, Government will amend the Financial Assistance Regulations 2004 to allow seniors who are homeowners or who have an interest in real property to be eligible to be assessed for applicable Financial Assistance benefits.

“It is estimated that this may result in additional financial assistance costs of up to $250,000 in FY 2012/13 (accounted for in the budget allocation).”

View all our coverage of the 2012/13 Budget here.

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Comments (28)

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  1. That means that everyone working in Bermuda has to pay approximately $1,000 in taxes a year for this service!

  2. soooo says:

    Just doing the math in my head…

    40 million. @ 60,000 people.. = $666,000 per person… All I can say is where is my check?

  3. soooo says:

    Ok can’t add… 666.00 each….

  4. Shut Yo Mouth says:

    No man is an Island , no man stands alone . Let the seniors whose shoulders we stand on benefit from their labours , regardless of whether or not they have an interest in property .
    Many young people today who are saddled with a mortgage are eating tinned ravioli everynight and corned beef onions and rice for Sunday dinner .

    • Riley B says:

      And who is to blame for that?

      • Shut Yo Mouth says:

        No blame , just self sacrifice . Seeking to make the point that old and young alike are feeling the pinch .

    • Rick Rock says:

      If they’re paying a mortgage on a house they own, and eating (tinned food, whatever), they’re surviving fine and don’t need government assistance.

  5. Hmmmm says:

    For 1363 people, it works out to over 20,000 per case, although I’m sure if a person requires financial assistance in one area, they require it in another too. I have no problem with financial assistance where it is genuinely needed. I am concerned about financial assitance for unemployed able bodied numbers. I thought a pool of funds had previously been put aside for this. We don’t need to get into unemployment benefit. That equals the road to hell, especially when there ARE jobs out there and government ruled that folks could access pension funds in an emegency.

  6. Sinking says:

    I am all for helping our seniors but I will NOT support my money going to any able-bodied unemployed person as long there is even just one kitchen porter job available. Take any job that’s available BEFORE you take HANDOUTS. I work hard for my money, so too should everyone else that is able.

    • jt says:

      With you there 100%.

    • Rick Rock says:

      I’m with you there too. Financial help should be for the helpless, no-one else.

      • The nitty gritty says:

        We are already giving way too much financial assistance to the helpless, ..I presume we are talking about the Govt Ministers here??

  7. For real says:

    The platinum period is great huh we have arrived wow?!?!

  8. Not Understanding says:

    I know not every man is and island and at different times in everyone has had a helping had through the tough times . BUT what I would like to understand is where are the Government entities in Labour & Training and The National Training Board to work in conjunction with the Financial Department to get the people that are on assistance to off assistance and find meaningful employment.
    Especially read in the breakdown that there are 130 able bodied un-employed this needs to be looked at even closer so that these people can be trained up quickly or crossed trained to multitask in a different job.
    This to will help streamline the process and help Government also by identifying sectors that need workers and they can fill them better.

  9. Triangle Drifter says:

    Wonder how much of that near enough $40M goes to administration wages? Also wonder what the staffing levels in Bermuda are compared to a community of similar size & people on welfare elseware?

  10. I've only got one question ... says:

    Is the financial assistance being paid with bars of platinum?

  11. random commenter says:

    ay… what is goin on with yaboy’s mustache?

  12. U Were Thinking It says:

    146 per case worker!!! Wow!!! I find it interesting to see so many opinions on financial assistance by people who have obviously never needed to seek aide. Most of the people would rather be working than having to be told what they can spend their money on and most are referred to National Training Board and are required to show that they are looking for jobs!!! I commend the caseworkers for managing such high case loads!!!

  13. Serious though says:

    Bermuda is becoming a Welfare country!

  14. navin johnson says:

    and the case workers get switched around constantly so there is no consistency and most of them worry that they will have a job next week….

  15. jt says:

    Add 30% of the civil service payroll to that figure.

  16. seriously tired says:

    So I can go out there and find 2 full times jobs working my ass off to support me and mine and 1363 other people?!?!?
    I can’t qualify for FA because my payscale is a bit higher than the maximum allowed, so in the meantime my family and I have to make do, which is fine.
    Supporting any senior that is in need is perfectly fine with me. Having seniors told that they do not qualify is a problem for me.
    Why? Because when I see people having baby after baby after baby while happily living off of FA, taking trips, getting their hair and nails done every week, hang out every damn night, doing any form of drug, etc etc etc is pure BS at the heighest level! And don’t feed me the BS about reporting them to FA because they aready know full well who the culprits are, yet continue to enable these lazy no good people.
    I feel that:
    A) All recipients should have a term limit (1 year?)
    B) All recipients should have to have mandatory drug testing on a weekly/monthly basis (just like they do for drug court etc)
    C) Anyone who has more children after they have initially applied should automatically be disqualified from receiving FA for the rest of their lives.
    D) A cap needs to be put into place for day care facility charges. Once Government announced that they would help subsidize nursery fees, the day care fees went through the roof! This would eliminate/drastically lower the need for DCA.

    I’m sure you all can add many more points to the above list. This is OUR hard earned money, so some accountability SHOULD be put into place!
    But then again, accountablility doesn’t seem something that anybody is willing to adhere to!

  17. The nitty gritty says:

    You got a big AMEN to all dat dere. We wouldn’t be worrying so if the debt was back in the 100 million area where it was when sane finance held sway. The country would be able to comfortably meet the needs of the less fortunate, reduce payroll tax for affected businesses, and provide employment,stimulus and major construction projects. When you spend (lose,misplace, mismanage,) 100 million more than you make every year until you owe $1,350,000,000 then you,we, are in deep
    and 25 years of recovery needed, unless they get back in- then many of us won’t live long enough to see that recovery, even with the bountiful future healthcare plan.

  18. Union Member says:

    Seriously tired, I feel you. We need term limits, drug testing, more CASE WORKERS!!! Sabbatical program for cases etc for FA. Instead of increasing the dollar amount a holistic approach needs to be taken. Free Daycare if you are in classes, certification courses of higher learning, free Daycare at the college, mandatory drug counseling programs if you test positive, give back programs for those seeking employment that must be completed at least once or twice a week (cutting grass on government grounds, assisting seniors,painting government estates, planting/farm hands). Instead of a free handout, make the FA check for the abled bodes something that is earned.