BVI News

6,000 workers apply for unemployment benefits in BVI! $176K paid out so far

Minister with responsibility for Social Security Vincent Wheatley said more than 6,000 residents have applied for unemployment/underemployment benefits through the Social Security Board (SSB).

Speaking in the House of Assembly last Friday, Wheatley said more than $176,000 has been disbursed so far.

The SSB began distributing application forms at the start of June and persons were encouraged to submit their forms along with any supporting evidence.

“Of the approximate 6,000 COVID-19 underemployment/unemployment benefit applications received, 2,125 were asserted [while] 1,200 were scanned, and indexed. Payments for 94 persons were deposited to the individual accounts with a total payout of $176,107.74,” Wheatley reported.

He further said some 10,000 application forms have been distributed to date.

Moving full steam ahead

The minister said the processing of benefits to persons in need is moving swiftly despite a few glitches in the beginning.

“While the payments appear to be protracted, persons must appreciate that COVID-19 underemployment/unemployment benefit is not one of the benefits paid by the SSB. A computer programme had to be developed and tested to ensure correctness in processing the claims,” Wheatley explained.

He continued: “Among the many challenges faced are the incomplete forms, missing bank account numbers and employee information topping the list. The process also slowed when there are missing salaries for the required periods and the need to contact the employer.”

However, more employers have been added to the processing team and they are said to be working tirelessly to process the claims.

The government had allocated $10 million — through a grant from the SSB — for persons who have either lost their jobs, are working fewer hours or for less pay because of the COVID-19 crisis.

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26 Comments

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  1. Wow says:

    Wow you gave out a whole $300 per person. How kind of the racist Belongers. Karma is coming. You will pay.

    Like 5
    Dislike 11
  2. Ausar says:

    Thank you Honourable Wheatley, for realizing the need for unemployment insurance services.

    As you’ve stated, the needs mentioned so far, has brought total shock for many of us.

    This is why a permanent solution for the needs of our people, had to be realized.

    I believe that the unemployment insurance act, is a step in the right direction towards true assistance, in hard economic times!

    Like 3
    Dislike 2
  3. really says:

    we paid up till end of March even though we closed on the 20th so why has my staff not been paid, why is their still no small business grant application form so i can keep myy staff on while we earn nothing, if nothing happens NOW next season there will be a shortage of staff.

    Like 8
    Dislike 2
    • Crikey says:

      The government cannot save us all. You may get a one time grant, but is that really going to save your business? A lot of people acting as though COVID was planned by the HOA. Grow the hell up…we are not like the US, we don’t print our own bleeding money. You have a business, it is your job to properly forecast, and if you didn’t expect COVID, neither did the BVI government or any government for that matter.

      Like 2
      Dislike 1
  4. 2020 says:

    Payments totaling $176,108 for 94 persons. That averages out to $1,873 per person.

    What happens after that?

    The average cost of living for a family of 4 is more than that per month. Rent, utility bills, food – the basics. If 2 of those were working adults that became unemployed that equals $3,600+. But what happens after that. Is this amount going to come regularly as in monthly and if so, until when?

    Like 1
    Dislike 4
    • @2020 says:

      The benefit payments should come as no surprise. From the onset they indicated a minimum benefit amount of $500 and a maximum of $1000. Understandably this unemployment benefit should not be viewed as replacement income, or to put you at your pre-covid position. Things are difficult yes. The other options available are the elected representatives, but I caution you to remove the thought that you will get equivalent to your previous earnings.

    • @2020 says:

      it was stated for a 3 month period benefits would be paid.

    • Hilda says:

      After than persons dip into their savings. If they are receiving $1,800+ thats good. Some countries gave $1,200

  5. Question says:

    Is expats included in this unemployment benefits? We pay those taxes and more.

    Like 6
    Dislike 2
  6. Smh says:

    A lot of those people I’m sure are people who was getting good pay but blow their money on on Friday night LIT, Saturday night Turn-up and Sunday She’ll-down. Financial training is a must in the BVI especially among people 18- 50 of age.

    Like 4
    Dislike 3
  7. LOL says:

    2020, why do I question that the 94 persons received $ 1873 each? More payouts where we will never know who to.

    Like 2
    Dislike 1
    • What says:

      Lets see . Expats pay taxes , fees ,NHI ,permits , more than locals . Wonder what the next move to screw the hard working honest work permit holders will be ?:

      Like 8
      Dislike 1
  8. Babsy says:

    Why don’t you allow people to leave.
    Many people will be work permit holders who are unemployed and would rather be back home until things pick up.
    Please allow flights out so those of us that want to can leave the territory and fly out to catch connecting flights and travel back home.
    I know I am not the only one looking to leave the island

    • :) says:

      You are allowed to leave if you can arrange your flight and have it approved by the relevant authorities. Some islands arranged for flights for their citizens and individuals have chartered their own.

    • Tongue Fu says:

      Anyone can leave the issue is that the regular commercial flights like LIAT, Intercaribbean, Winair and the like have suspended their operations as the BVI borders remain closed to visitors. Regular flights are no longer viable as there is not enough demand.

      Too bad they cannot see the need to re-open for visitors as that could well help persons who want to leave to do that. Only way to do so right now is expensive charters.

  9. Disinterested says:

    Though I hope the $40M social security grant were a loan, it is admirable that displaced workers are getting help, UK refusing to help workers impacted by Covid-19. My numbers may be dated but 6000 people applying for employment help is close to 50% of the approx 13,000 labour force. Based on the approx $176K disbursed to 94 workers, the average payout was $1843. Does social security has a floor and ceiling for payout? And if so what are they? How long is the unemployment going to last? Is there a time or until the $10M runs out?

    • ?? says:

      @ Disinterested

      There is no need to get a SSB loan to pay this benefit to those applied. The beneficiaries are getting a portion of their own monies that they and their employers paid in. Those whose benefits were paid up to Feb or March 2020 are the ones that are qualified for this benefit. Again no need for this financing of this unemployment insurance being a loan to government. Please read the details of the Cabinet Decision and HOA Act that brought it into enactment.

  10. Tongue Fu says:

    So basically the 94 persons getting approx $625.00/month for three months: approx. $1875.00. For some that cannot even pay rent. Not only did the stimulus come too late but it seems too little, too late.

  11. Diaspora says:

    Let’s keep it real. Unemployment compensation in every other place don’t cover full lost employment income; it is only a supplement. Even the UK that employs a soft form of Swedish-style non-revolutionary socialism pays only 80% of salary for a limited time. The UK has unemployment insurance; VI, no. Government worked creatively with social security to deliver some assistance. Be that as it may, I wish the grant were a loan that had to be paid back. That is good efficacy of social security funds. A loan would have provided the same benefits to the unemployed. The social security trust fund is not a cash cow for political machinations.

    The social security contribution rate developed by the actuary didn’t include unemployment insurance. However, since social security has a surplus over what is needed to maintain its long-term stability, it needs to raise the annuity of beneficiaries, especially those retirees are who only receiving a mere pittance, a mere might. Or lower the contribution rate for both employees and employers. By the way, social security/labour needs to forcefully and aggressively go after the fraudsters that deducted contributions from employees wages but didn’t submit them to social security. This is shameful and does a grave disservice to the employees and the programme.

    Pox on the UK, an advanced country with the 7th largest economy in the world, for refusing to help workers who were unemployed by no fault of their own or the ineptness of government. They were unemployed by Covid-19 pandemic.

    Like 4
    Dislike 1

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