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COVID-19 unemployment benefits extended

March 4, 2021 4:50 pm

The government’s COVID-19 unemployment benefit scheme which was due in two weeks has been extended for an additional five fortnights.

However, Minister for Economy, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, confirms a review is underway to identify if there is any abuse of the scheme and to weed out those taking advantage of benefits meant for the unemployed.

“There’s one particular family where there are four people all picking up $220 a fortnight so they are getting $880 a fortnight.”

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With 85% of beneficiaries covered entirely by the government, Sayed-Khaiyum believes some recipients have become too dependent on the government and aren’t actively looking for jobs.

“We are working with FNPF to ascertain where people may be disincentivised and how. We’re looking at new mechanisms to stop – if there’s any abuse.”

The scheme covers unemployed individuals, and those on reduced hours and Sayed-Khaiyum suggests a household income test may be a more appropriate way of identifying who deserves the funding.

The government has allocated $100 million for the unemployment benefit scheme.

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