Govt: Changes To Financial Assistance

June 12, 2023

The Government is “amending the Financial Assistance Act 2001 and the Financial Assistance Regulations 2004 to provide abled-bodied financial assistance recipients who reach the maximum period of seven years during a fiscal period with a reduced award until they can secure gainful employment or progress out of eligibility.”

A Government spokesperson said, “Previously, recipients could remain on Financial Assistance [FA] for up to five years. However, in 2020, due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, amendments to the regulations allowed abled-bodied persons to stay in the FA program for an additional two years, totalling seven years.

“In alignment with FA reform, this change will enable recipients who require assistance after the seven-year term to receive a reduced benefit where necessary.

“Recipients who meet the criteria are only eligible for the following awards, and no other benefits will apply:

  • standard room rate
  • food allowance
  • health insurance coverage.

“Following the amendments, 17 individuals who have reached the maximum period currently allowed for FA will be eligible for the reduced benefit.

“The Ministry can also advise that as of May 2023, the number of persons receiving FA is as follows:

Government Amendment On Financial Assistance June 2023

“The public should also note that under section 8 of the Financial Assistance Act 2001, the Director of Financial Assistance can grant or refuse an application for an award. As a condition of an award, all Financial Assistance recipients must be registered with the Department of Workforce Development and attend one or more life-skills programmes. This requirement helps ensure recipients are equipped and can take up gainful employment.

“To aid clients in obtaining gainful employment, Personal Employment Plans are a requirement for receiving financial assistance. The Personal Employment Plan outlines individuals’ employment goals, action steps, required resources and timelines to meet each objective.

“Additionally, there may be a need for health and emotional services such as a referral to a substance abuse facility, mental health facility, and Bermuda College for upskilling. This initiative is essential to Financial Assistance Reform and illustrates a pathway towards obtaining sustainable employment.

“The amendment to the services provided by the Department of Financial Assistance directly aligns with the Government’s ongoing commitment to providing the required social support services that position Bermudians to achieve gainful and respectful employment opportunities in the local workforce.”

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Comments (4)

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  1. Observer says:

    I worked for government a few decades ago. The universal joke amongst us was that you had to have a large TV, full cable, drive a nice car and travel 3 + times a year to be able to get financial assistance.
    Many upper-level positions are hard to come by. If you have a conscience, there is no shame on you for packing groceries if you cannot find a position that you expect with a Masters degree! Some kids clear $200.00 a day packing grocery. That should help you along the way until something better comes along.

  2. watching says:

    There are many people who fall on hard times and most times no fault of their own. The government does have a responsibility to take care of the most vulnerable and to ensure they have support. I believe these reforms strike a good balance between helping our people in need, without creating unending dependency. The opposition and their supporters seem to believe that no one should be helped, other than businesses. I am proud of the PLP for these changes.

    • Joe Bloggs says:

      You are correct “watching”. Unfortunately, these hard times were created by a considered and deliberate economic policy going back to 2005 or before.

    • Double s says:

      7 years for able bodied and minded individuals is not hard times as you define it. That’s ridiculous length of time and is the definition of enabling dependency.

      But then again if they did opposite you would also applaud them like the sheep you are.