Persons on Viti Levu seeking to access the recently announced $120-a-month Fijian-Government unemployment cash assistance will be required to submit a declaration confirming that they have received the first dose of the vaccine and the venue where they received it when applications open next week.
The two are newly added criteria in the government’s unemployment assistance schemes and are mandatory to be met by all those looking to benefit from the assistance that entitles beneficiaries to a monthly payment of $120 for six months beginning this month.
The $720 cash payment will be paid in two instalments of $360 – the first to be paid out on 23 August – provided all information provided are correct – for the months of August, September and October and the second payment scheduled for November are for the months November to January 2022.
As per the 2021-2022 National Budget Announcement, this assistance will only be provided to eligible Fijians who have received at least the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by this Saturday, 7 August. All individuals must also go on to be fully vaccinated to be able to qualify for the second payment.
Individuals whose employment income has not been affected by the pandemic, as well as those who receive other forms of government assistance, are not eligible for this income support. This includes all civil servants, all other employees in the private sector and statutory bodies whose employment income has not been affected and therefore FNPF contributions have been normal in the last three months, all those on the FNPF pension scheme; students on Tertiary Education Loan Scheme (TELS) and Toppers scholarship receiving normal allowances, all social welfare recipients; and those under 18 years of age.
For those who qualify for the scheme, the application for the first round of assistance opens on Monday 9 August and closes at 5 pm on 11 August. Eligible applicants are to submit the following information via *161#:
1. Full name;
2. Birth registration number or citizenship number;
3. Date of birth
4. Tax Identification Number (TIN);
5. FNPF number, if any;
6. Voter identification number;
7. Home Address;
8. Declaration to confirm if the applicant has received his/her first jab of COVID-19 vaccine (Yes or No);
9. If YES, provide the place of vaccination;
10. Consent for Fijian Government to access applicants vaccination details (Yes or No); and
11. Statutory declaration to confirm that all information provided is correct.
“It is important that individuals applying for this assistance gather ALL of the required information before dialling *161#. Incomplete submissions or submissions containing incorrect information will not be considered. Only one registered SIM card is permitted per person. There are stiff penalties for individuals attempting to double-dip on government unemployment assistance. Payment for qualifying applicants will start from 23 August 2021, subject to correct and complete information provided by individuals at the time of application.”
The Ministry of Economy will work in partnership with Vodafone, Digicel, Ministry of Communications, Ministry of Health and Medical Services, Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, Fiji Revenue and Customs Service, Fiji National Provident Fund and Tertiary Scholarship and Loans Board to verify and process the applications.
For ease of access, funds will be deposited directly into the MPAiSA or MyCASH wallet eligible recipients. Recipients will be able to withdraw cash or purchase items from registered MPAiSA and MyCash outlets.
Formal sector employees who qualified for FNPF withdrawals under the previous pandemic-related unemployment benefits will remain eligible for the $220 fortnightly assistance. This also includes affected formal sector employees outside Viti Levu. Employees who do not have a sufficient FNPF General Account balance, as well as those who do not prefer to access their General Account, can apply for the $120 per month benefit from Government.