Statement from the Director General of Social Development – June 27, 2022

STATEMENT BY THE DIRECTOR GENERAL OF SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT, MRS ANNIE MALONE

PRESS CONFERENCE ON SOCIAL ASSISTANCE GRANTS

MONDAY JUNE 27, 2022

Thanks, Hon. Minister and good morning Madam Moderator, PS Davies, the public watching and listening, other government officials and the media. This morning I am privileged to present the transitional grant process for the next three months from July to September 2022. I will further provide information on other support services available to households in need through of the Department of Social Development.

HOA grant recipients will receive their final assistance grants within the next week and it is expected that an explanatory letter from the HOA Registrar, outlining the process to be followed, will be provided to each grantee. Therefore, effective June 30, 2022, the transfer of assistance grants from HOA to SDD will be officially completed.

Effective July 1, 2022, the Department of Social Development will assume full responsibility for providing assistance grants to three hundred and sixty-two (362) individuals transitioning from HOAs for a period of three months (July to September ), at the same rate previously granted by the HOA.

The primary goal of continuing assistance grants in its current form is to avoid financial hardship or disenfranchisement for current individuals and families. Additionally, during the three-month period, recipients will still be digitally registered and assessed to determine final eligibility to participate in the public assistance program. Registration is scheduled for the third week of July. To facilitate the registration and assessment process, a total of twenty-four staff from across the department will conduct registrations and assessments.

Following the assessments, eligible individuals and families will, from October 2022, be registered as recipients of public assistance and will receive the rates stipulated in the Public Assistance Act 2013.

We are aware that after the initial three month transition period, some of the 362 people may not want to participate in the public assistance process, please understand that you have the right to decide and whatever your decision, we respect certainly your right to your decision.

Here’s what people can expect during the implementation process:

  1. Checks can be withdrawn the last week of each month at the following locations:
    • On Tortola at the Treasury Department located in Fish Bay; Skelton Bay Lot, Building 12.
    • On the sister islands (Anegada, Virgin Gorda and Jost Van Dyke) in district offices.
  2. Individuals who are unable to cash checks themselves may designate someone else in writing to receive their checks on their behalf.

In special circumstances, the Department of Social Development may arrange for checks to be delivered.

The following exclusive grants will not be considered during the transition period or under the public assistance program.

  • Scholarships, awards and prizes
  • Grants for sports, recreation and entertainment
  • Grants to support businesses and religious organizations
  • Subsidies to fishermen, farmers and other food producers
  • Infrastructure projects

Please note that every effort will be made to direct individuals to the appropriate avenues for services or requests not administered by the Public Assistance Program.

Public assistance is a needs-based program designed to provide financial support and services to individuals and households in need, to enable them to achieve at least a minimum degree of economic security.

Persons eligible to apply for PA

Applicants must meet at least A following criteria:

  • belong, or [permanent] Resident; Where
  • Married to a Belonger and living with that person in the Virgin Islands; Where
  • Is responsible for the care of a dependent person who is a Belonger or a Resident.

Priority will be given to vulnerable children, people over 65, the unemployed and people with disabilities.

Assistance Grant Categories

Food and household supplies

Utilities/Rent

Help with childcare

Funeral assistance and burial

Monthly financial aid

Medical assistance

Transportation

Emergency assistance

Clothing help

Thank you for taking this time to share information about this transition period from HOA to the Department of Social Development and the subsequent processes associated with this transfer.

Joel C. Hicks