The National Insurance Board (NIB) is urging more than 7,000 approved unemployment benefit (UEB) claimants to verify they are still jobless so that payments can be released.
The social security system, in a statement, said these benefits - which are paid through its V3 system - were now held up due to non-verification of the claimant’s continued unemployment.
Revealing that it has now paid out more than $71m in unemployment benefits related to COVID-19 lay-offs to more than 34,000 claimants, NIB said the stalled payments represent the final few weeks of their unemployment benefit.
Claimants are normally required to present their unemployment (B81) cards to NIB every 4 weeks after an interview at the Department of Labour, so that they continue receiving benefits. However, given the need for physical distancing during COVID-19, NIB has altered the verification approach to include emailed confirmations of continued unemployment.
To expedite the verification process, NIB said it will be taking three approaches to enable benefits claimants to have their payment streams restored.
It explained that they can continue to register/verify with the Department of Labour’s jobseekers website (https://jobseekers.bahamas.gov.bs/). Upon registration, claimants must select the ‘UEB verification’ option on the unemployment benefit dropdown box at the bottom of the form. The Department of Labour will e-mail a listing of all unemployment verification clients on a daily basis for NIB to update the payment streams.
Benefits claimants may also continue to register/verify with the Department of Labour for an Unemployment Card (B81). The Department of Labour will forward their information to NIB to release payment. And NIB will also be contacting employers, where possible, to confirm the continued lay-off status of stalled claims.
NIB also urged employers to informing it of employees who have returned to work by emailing email@example.com, and by promptly submitting the electronic Microsoft Excel contribution (C10) forms to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The social security system added that a smaller number of claims were also stalled because contributions were paid by their employers past the date of their last day at work. When contributions are posted for a claimant in this cases, the system requires a manual verification to confirm that the person is not gainfully employed.