The economic carnage as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect industries and individuals around the world. In St. Kitts and Nevis, the St. Christopher and Nevis Social Security Board stepped in to provide income assistance to persons who suffered total loss or reduced loss of income as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.
Director of the Board, Antonio Maynard, said that the organization had a “legal and moral responsibility” to assist. Fifteen million dollars were set aside from a special reserve fund to facilitate supplementary income support to qualifying residents.
“Social Security is all about people, the economy, employment, and the livelihood and well-being of workers and so the custodians of the Social Security Fund continue to play a key role in mitigating against this crisis,” Mr Maynard stated, on the Inside the News radio programme on May 16, 2020.
Vernel Powell, Deputy Director of the Board, said the response of the organization to pay up to $1,000 for the months of April, May and June is quite appropriate as Social Security at its core facilitates wage replacement.
“In our Benefit Regulation under Part 3 Benefits, Section 9, Subsection 2, it states: For the purpose of this regulation an insured person shall be treated as incapable of work on any day during which that person is required to abstain from work because of being under observation by reason of being a carrier or because of having been in contact with a case of infectious disease,” Mr Powell indicated.
“Seems to me that is where we are except on a much larger scale,” he added, noting that the income support will lessen the hardship many families are currently experiencing.
Director Maynard noted that Social Security organizations across the Caribbean are making similar interventions to support their respective beneficiaries.
The COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund provides up to $1,000 to qualifying residents who lost their jobs or are on reduced hours and earning less than $1,000 per month. Self-employed persons registered with Social Security as well as individuals made redundant as a result of the coronavirus pandemic are benefiting from this assistance.