65,762 Belizeans have applied for the Unemployment Relief Program since it was opened to applications on April 3. This should theoretically mean that over 65,000 Belizeans are in need of financial assistance as they are currently unemployed and unable to work due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, as it turns out, some people are taking advantage of a system that was put in place to help those who truly could not help themselves. Alarmingly, public officers that have not been laid off due to COVID-19 and teachers that are employed the public and private education system who have also not been laid off due to the virus are flooding the system with applications, making it more difficult for persons who are eligible to receive the assistance promised to them. According to a release from the Belize Press Office, 15,197 applications have been excluded due to various reasons. Other reasons include being 18 years or younger, not being a Belizean national, already being a beneficiary of a GOB program, SSB pension, or BOOST program, being laid off in March 2020 by the Belize Tourism Board and being employed still, whether in the public or private sector. On the other hand, though, 23,264 applications have been approved and sent to the Social Security Board during the period of April 9 to 15 for payment into applicants’ accounts. By the end of today, all these approved payments will have been sent to the banks and credit unions for deposit. Notably, about 15% of payments have been returned from banks because incorrect banking information was provided by the applicants. Efforts will be made to contact each of the applicants to obtain correct banking information. Currently, 1,117 applications are in the process of being vetted for approval. 26,184 applications remain to be reviewed. Regarding applicants who requested payment by ATM top up card, cards are currently being prepared for distribution and applicants will be notified when and where the cards will be ready for pick-up.
65,762 Belizeans have applied for the Unemployment Relief Program since it was opened to applications on April 3. This should theoretically mean that over 65,000 Belizeans are in need of financial assistance as they are currently unemployed and unable to work due to the COVID-19 pandemic.