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CARE Programme Failed To Reach Three Quarters Of Vulnerable Jamaicans, Study Finds

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CARE Programme Failed To Reach Three Quarters Of Vulnerable Jamaicans, Study Finds

  The Government’s CARE programme reportedly failed to reach three quarters of Jamaicans in some of the country’s poorest communities.   That’s the finding of the latest research by the Caribbean Policy Research Institute (CAPRI), which was released Thursday evening.   The study, Locked Down and Locked Out: Vulnerable Communities during the Pandemic , surveyed 1,500 respondents from 24 low income communities, selected based on STATIN’s poverty maps.   Researcher Jennifer Jones, who presented the findings, says only one in four of the people in the communities received a benefit under the CARE programme.    “The majority in this sample applied for the Compassionate Grant since this was all they were eligible for once they had the requisite ID and TRN,” she noted, revealing that “three out of five, 62 per cent, were successful.”   “Then we look at the disabled, the pensioners, those on PATH. Well, the disabled were very successful. Although only a third applied, 92 per cent of those got through. Among pensioners, it was 71 per cent; about two in five pensioners applied. And half of the PATH recipients applied and three out of five received [or] 60 per cent.”     Ms Jones said many did not qualify for any of the grants because they are in the informal sector and the terms for receiving them included registration or paying of taxes.   She said three per cent of those surveyed were also impeded by requirements for identification and taxpayer registration numbers (TRN).   “Now, three per cent doesn’t sound much, does it? But actually, out of 1,500 people, it’s 45 people. So you can imagine how much it is out of a larger population,” she explained.    Another 27 per cent didn’t know about the grants, while some applied late to programme for which applications were open for eight days – from April 9 to April 16.   Thirteen per cent of people said they didn’t know how to apply and 21 per cent “had other lighter reasons.”    Another CAPRI researcher, Monique Graham, said the government should have relaxed requirements to ensure the social protection initiative reached the most vulnerable.   She said a report from the World Bank stated that “the government could have temporarily eased the heavy requirements to expand micro-credit to these business and expand social protection efforts to informal workers.”