Nearly 400,000 CARE applicants get payout

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Nearly 400,000 CARE applicants get payout

Thursday, July 09, 2020

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KINGSTON, Jamaica— Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr Nigel Clarke, says that as at July 1, disbursements had been made to 396,311 people out of 415,888 eligible applicants, under the Government's COVID Allocation of Resources for Employees (CARE) Programme.

He made the disclosure during a statement to the House of Representatives on Tuesday.

Clarke said that some 250 applications were received for the Business Employee Support and Transfer of Cash (BEST Cash) component.

“Of these, 142 were ruled eligible and will receive grants for retaining some 14,000 employees. About 68 of the applicants failed eligibility by not having a tourism board licence,” he said.

The BEST Cash Programme provides temporary cash transfers to registered businesses operating within the tourism industry that are registered with the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo).

This is based on the number of workers they keep employed who are at or under the income tax threshold of $1.5 million per annum, as confirmed by Tax Administration Jamaica (TAJ).

Businesses that apply and qualify will receive $9,000 per fortnight for each employee retained on their payroll, which they will remit accordingly.

The minister noted that the Government will pay the statutory deductions related to these grants of $1,392 per employee, for the employee's portion and $2,400 for the employer's portion.

“There has been a delay in the finalisation of the BEST Cash process due to several iterations of a processing validation audit with the Auditor General's Department and this has caused a delay in payment. However, I have been informed that this has now concluded and payment instructions for BEST Cash grants were authorised,” he added.

Regarding the Supporting Employees with the Transfer of (SET) Cash component, Clarke said that approximately 32,970 applicants were ruled eligible to receive grants.

He noted that SET Cash payments have now been made for the months of April and May, for an average of 25,561 laid off employees with a valid bank account.

“The difference of just over 7,000 approved and eligible SET Cash applicants still have invalid bank accounts, and the CARE team is encouraging them by messages to update their payment information,” the minister said.

He added that Tax Administration Jamaica has done a review of previous eligibility results and is in the process of ruling an additional 1,500 applications eligible for payment.

“The payments for the final month of June, as well as payment for the new eligible 1,500, will be made by the week of the 20th of July with respect to that final component,” he said.

The SET Cash grant is for persons earning $1.5 million or less, whose employment was terminated after March 10 as a result of the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) on economic activity.

For the Compassionate grants, Clarke said that there were some 375,088 eligible applications, and transfers have been made to 361,614 persons.


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