COVID-19 eServices Citizens Portal for Unemployment Relief Program
Friday, April 3rd, 2020
The Government of Belize announces the launch of the COVID-19 eServices Portal through which persons may apply to the COVID-19 Unemployment Relief Program which is being established through the agreement of the co-chairs of the COVID-19 National Oversight Committee. The Central Information Technology Office posted the application form at 10:00 p.m. April 2nd, and within the first half hour over 60 persons made applications for unemployment relief.
On March 16th, the co-chairs agreed to establish the Economic Oversight Team to oversee the establishment and operationalization of the Unemployment Relief Program, among other things. The program is intended to offer financial assistance to workers who have been laid off as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. The program also provides relief to persons who were unemployed prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and are now experiencing even more difficult circumstances.
This online portal enhances service delivery by the Government to its citizens. The portal (https://portal.covid19.bz/individual/index.php/) has been developed using modern, secure, and responsive technologies that will allow the Government to connect and respond to its citizens promptly and safely. Ultimately, the Government is committed to deliver much needed social assistance in the most cost effective and efficient manner to the many Belizeans who have been displaced as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The application form is simple and should take no more than a couple of minutes to complete online. The portal will automate the registration, verification, approval and disbursement processes of the Unemployment Relief Program by interconnecting the Ministry of Finance and the Social Security Board using state-of-the-art technology standards and protocols and incorporating the support of the Belize Tourism Board.
Once an application has been submitted, citizens will be updated via SMS or email notifications about the status of their application.
All applicants are encouraged to use the online application process as the time between application and approval will be shortest and the process will be most efficient in such instance. A short instructional video can be found on www.covid19.bz for those who need assistance filling out the form.
If applicants do not have access to the internet, hard copies of the application form will be available at Social Security Board and Labour Department Offices in each city and town starting next week. Please note that because these forms will have to be typed into the portal after they have been handed in by applicants, that additional steps taken to sanitize physical forms will lengthen the time between application and approval.
The COVID-19 Unemployment Relief Program has been launched with the overriding goal to make funds available to those most in need at the earliest possible time. In these circumstances, it is expected that there will be glitches as there are many variables and many differing circumstances of applicants; however, by and large, it is expected that most people will be duly served on an efficient basis. To help applicants who may need it, the following services will become available over the next several days:
Applicants can submit queries by online chat on the portal using any electronic device and by sending an email to [email protected]
A COVID-19 Unemployment Relief Hotline will be established through the Belize Tourism Board and will be launched on Monday, April 6th, to receive queries and complaints and otherwise provide assistance in the application process.
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