The process is in keeping with the Commission of Inquiry (CoI) Recommendations to strip legislators of the ability to assist persons in the community.
According to a press release from Government Information Services (GIS), the purpose of the transition programme is to establish a single and coherent system of benefits, and to determine eligibility as a beneficiary of the Public Assistance Programme.
Chief Social Development Officer, Mrs Annie Malone Frett said, “These are defining moments for us here at Social Development Department as we seek to streamline grants, improve transparency and accountability in every sphere of our mandate, inclusive of public funds, while ensuring a seamless delivery of service based on the specific COI recommendations.”
The three-month transition grant programme gives persons who were previously receiving assistance from House of Assembly members an opportunity to be assessed to determine eligibility for the Public Assistance or other services and programmes.
According to the press release, applicants must meet at least be a Belonger, or holder of a Certificate of Residence; or married to a Belonger and living together with that person in the Virgin Islands; or responsible for the care of a dependent person who is a Belonger or resident.
It said priority is given to vulnerable children, persons over 65, unemployed persons, and persons with disabilities.
“We have identified, trained and stationed additional human resources to ensure that this transition period moves as smoothly as possible. We encourage persons to start the process early if they are interested in being assessed,” Mrs Malone Frett said.
The Transition Grant Programme is a temporary programme that will run from July 1, 2022 to September 30, 2022.
Eligible applicants will be enrolled unto the Public Assistance Programme effective October 1, 2022. For persons who do not qualify for Public Assistance, benefit payments will stop at the end of September.
Persons interested in applying for Public Assistance can do so by filling out an intake form that can be found via the web at https://bvi.gov.vg/services/social-assistance-programmes-public-assistance. Persons are also encouraged to contact the Social Development by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at 468- 468 9372, 468-9352, 468-9373, or 440-3124 for more information.