by Linda Straker
- From 30 August to 22 September 2021, Grenada recorded 84 Covid-19 related deaths
- In 2020, NIS paid out EC$71,058 for death benefit
- Maximum financial support is EC$2,000
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Social Development Chrissy Worme said that financial support for burial assistance after an application is approved, is never given directly to the families, but is given to the funeral agency tasked with the final arrangements.
“That payment to help support or contribute to the final arrangement for a deceased is never given directly to the next of kin, family, or relative, but is made directly to the funeral agency. Our officers have a very good working relationship with the funeral agencies and once an application is approved the payment goes to the agencies,” she said.
The financial contribution will not normally be considered to any family if the deceased is a member of a burial society, nor if the deceased qualifies to receive a burial benefit from the National Insurance Scheme (NIS). In 2020, NIS paid out EC$71,058 for death benefits.
However, a family will be considered even if the person is a member of a burial society or only receiving assistance from NIS. The maximum financial support is EC$2,000 but before an amount is agreed, the relevant officers in the Ministry of Social Development must investigate the situation with the family so that there is no abuse of the system.
“Not every family making an application will receive EC$2,000. The amount will be based on several factors of the surviving family,” Worme explained. The burial assistance is to help vulnerable and marginalised families, but in the past, there were instances where families who could afford burial, applied and received burial assistance.
Because of Covid-19, the Ministry of Health in agreement with the religious community and funeral agencies has agreed to bury all Covid-19 related deaths within 72 hours. Several people have raised concerns about burial costs and the need for support to surviving families.
On Tuesday, Health Minister Nickolas Steele said that there has always been support through the Social Development Ministry for individuals who cannot pay for funerals. “There is a strict process in terms of qualification for that, but Government has tried always and as best as possible to give support. That will not change in this period; those who qualify for that support and eligible for that support will get that support,” he said.
Data from the Ministry of Health has shown that from 30 August to 22 September 2021 Grenada recorded 84 Covid-19 related deaths.
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