No aid for those behind on social contributions - Penn urges gov't to still assist ineligible persons
Opposition Leader Marlon Penn has challenged the Andrew Fahie-led administration to assist persons who are affected by the coronavirus pandemic, despite their ineligibility.
Labour & Social Security Minister Vincent Wheatley had told the House of Assembly on Monday that persons must have their Social Security, National Health Insurance and Inland Revenue contributions current to qualify for assistance.
However, the minister said there are ‘a lot’ of persons who have not been up to date with their contributions and therefore do not qualify to benefit from the $10 million that government set aside for persons who are either jobless or are working on reduced hours as a direct result of COVID-19.
Penn, however, said, some persons who have been unemployed since the September 2017 hurricanes and have only recently landed jobs.
He said there are others who, despite having gainful employment, have employers who have consistently neglected to pay the required contributions on their behalf.
“So how are we going to support those persons?” Penn questioned while addressing the House on Monday.
“These are real concerns, we have to figure out, in a streamlined way, to ensure that the people who are truly in need of the support, get the support,” he said.
“I know persons who have gotten employment two weeks before the shutdown and are told that they don’t have any support because they don’t meet the eligibility. But, they are affected by COVID-19,” the Opposition Leader further noted.