Welfare vouchers to be replaced by card system

| 12/06/2014

(CNS): Caymanians receiving government assistances via the Needs Assessment Unit (NAU) are to get pre-paid cards to purchase food and supplies instead of vouchers. The cards will be provided by local supermarkets on Grand Cayman as part of ongoing changes at the NAU to provide a more efficient service to its clients, officials said. With the rising cost of living, declining salaries and ongoing local unemployment, there has been an increase in the number of families forced to seek assistance from the NAU and the unit wants to help more people more quickly. Each pre-paid card will be specific to an identified client and balances can be tracked, reducing the risk to the public purse if they are lost or stolen, officials added.

This new method of payment to support families in need will replace the paper vouchers currently being provided. Local vendors will provide the pre-paid cards, which will function like debit cards and NAU clients will still be able to choose their preferred vendor from a list of participating supermarkets. The cards will be topped up electronically and any unused funds will be returned to the department once the service period has expired.

“Each pre-paid card is specific to the identified client and the balance on each card can be tracked. This reduces the risk of loss of funds due to the card being lost or stolen,” the NAU said in a release, adding that the pre-paid cards will be distributed to clients within the coming weeks. Until then, vouchers will continue to be used. 

“The introduction of the pre-paid cards does not affect the provision of services as it pertains to eligibility and the amount provided,” the officials stated.

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  1. Annie says:

    Hey kids it’s SNAP Cayman! When will we stop thinking we need programs designed for a country of 300 million, and tailor them to our country with a population of 50k?

  2. Anonymous says:

    Why don't they just get served some basic food somewhere? Would be cheaper and less likely to lead to abuse.

  3. Anonymous says:

    BASIC right for food and a roof over one's head comes with life itself. 

  4. Anonymous says:

    This island isnt interested in getting caymanians off assisstance. I have a degree and residency, and 15 years experience in the US. I recently just heard a canadian received a government job I had applied for, I'm qualified for. I complained to social service and labour board. NOTHING is being done. SO I WILL BE MARCHING INTO SOCIAL SERVICE FOR MORE ASSISSTANCE NOT DUE TO LACK OF TRYING, BUT BECAUSE SOME CAYMANIANS HIRE WHO THEY WANT!!  The British took the American Indian and stuck them on a reservation. CAYMANIANS YOU WILL BE STUCK ON CAYMAN BRAC, CUZ THE EXPATS ARE TAKING OVER!!! AND YOU YOURSELVES ARE TO BLAME!! XXXXX This very young generation is being told they are lazy—they are stupid. Caymanians you are your own worst enemy. XXXXX God Bless and GOOD LUCK CAYMAN YOU NEED IT!!! I'll come back to visit in about 10-15 years and laugh as I watch these high and mighty high paid caymanians walking themselves into social service because they cant pay thier bills and begging just like me, because an expat took thier 150,000 job!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      Then apply for another job. There are lots of them out there. Not necessarily a job that's for a degree. Some money is better than no money. Pride is what is keeping you unemployed. 

    • Anonymous says:

      10:45 I in line behind you, yes do what you have to do.  Because what you have expressed is exactly what is happening.  So if the government wishes to not give Caymanians a job, and gve them t freigners,  then they should be the one picing  up the tab.  March to Social service yes.

      • Anonymous says:

        Because you don't want to work, you feel entitled that the government should support you? I am Caymanian and I think you should get to work. Get off your lazy backsides and do something productive. You have your degree. Wonderful! Now expand your mind and think about marketing yourself in the best possible way to get a job. Be creative. Volunteer. Sign up with agencies. Do tempwork. Work at a hotel/restaurant in the meantime to get by. The tips alone will be more than what social services will give you. Think of alternative (legal) ways to make money. Put an advert on ecay trade and sell something. You went to university. Tutor some kids. There are lots of jobs out there. You just don't want the ones that are available. 

  5. Anonymous says:

    Excellent news! One step towards preventing them from selling the vouchers for money and other things. You  get one card assigned to you which you have to safe guard in order to get your allocation the following month so they can't just sell the card. The department has to monitor the issuing of these cards. If someone constantly "misplacing" their card, something is wrong.

    Next step is a complete review of the people receiving benefits and monitoring. Some people fell on hard times due to losing a job, they get assistance but then a year or two later they get a job but they continue to get their rent paid and food vouchers. There are truly some people who really need the assistance but there are others who abuse the system. Unfortunately you will always have those lazy ones that don't want to work and prefer to be on welfare forever…..no pride, no shame, no work ethic. They make the minimum effort to find a job, if they get a job, they screw it up so that they are jobless again, they are many who know all the loopholes.

    • Anonymous says:


      1. Once the person has misplaced the card, the old one is cancelled. Any money 'lost' during that time is their own fault and they are not provided with more money.  A penalty will incur each time a replacement is issued and automatically withdrawn from the card balance. 

      2. The cards should have the individuals picture on it with a signature. Eliminating the use of the card by others. 

      3.  Card can be used locally only. 

      4. Card cannot be used to send wires/money transfers or obtain cash. 

      5.  A national id with registration of employer for all residents. This id will have information on it such as finger print. Address. Age. signature. And names and number of dependents. Minors have student cards with fingerprints, age. Address. Name of school. Names of parents. Signature from age 6 and up. Student cards renewed annually at the beginning of the school year.  

      6. Each employer must report to government, whether expat or local to a centralized agency (or immigration/social services) when they hire new staff. That eliminates the need for the individual reporting employment and the employer also provides the salary, position and status – full or part time – of the individual. 

      • Anonymous says:

        Ha ha any thumbs down for this must be the people using the vouchers of the black market. Those ideas are brilliant. I hope it comes to fruition one day. There seems to be many loopholes in the current system and these suggestions are a good start to close them. 

  6. Anonymousand says:

    Will deserving Caymanians be eligible for this?

  7. Anonymous says:

    10:10 please shut your mouth if you do not know what is taking place.  Half of these people getting the little help of food and rent and bills paid are seniors, who are sick with one thing or the other.  Tell me who is going to employ a senior over 60 years of age who has high blood pressure, diabetes and other ailments.

    Some of you peple wo have money is just grudgeful ad deceitful aganst the seniors.  People are sick and cannot work.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Do they really believe there will be an unused balance on the card.  Please do not hold your breath on that one.

  9. Anonymous says:

    They making it harder for poor people to get the stuff they need. how is my black market suppose to flourish with all this accountability? This goes against everything that I am trying to do. how can I trade my drugs for food vouchers now?


    This Chief Officer needs to go!

    • Anonymous says:

      I'm still trying to figure out if the 'thumbs up' read past the opening line.

      And I'm giving the 'thumbs down' the benefit fo the doubt that they just didn't find it funny.

  10. Anonymous says:

    I hope this works better than gas boy.

  11. Knot S Smart says:

    Another gas card calamity is about to happen…

    So now we have a gas-card and a food-card – we need a rent-card and an electricity-card too…

  12. Anonymous says:

    What attempts at gainful employment are these "welfare" recipients undertaking? Are they even trying to find work? I know it is difficult but it is not impossible. There needs to be better monitoring of this situation instead of approving vouchers/pre-paid cards to those that receive this assistance. It is unlikely that anyone who is receiving this benefit would want it to stop and our Government is only encouraging this handout by not monitoring it properly. Yes, assistance is needed but should only be for a short amount of time, until the recipient is employed and can provide for their own families. Have they applied for work? Have they been on interviews? Prove that you are trying to help yourself and not just collect assistance!

    • Anonymous says:

      Hello! Do you not think that some people who are working needs that assistance? Is it wrong for people who are working to get that assistance? Do we not want to help the people who are trying to help themselves or should they be punished for trying?  Let's face it.  The cost of living is too high here for even those who are making decent salaries to survive.  The cost of living in this country needs to be examined.  Throw in some competition for CUC and you will see a big portion of that reduced.  

      • Anonymous says:

        I would like to see working people live within their means. I work hard. Two jobs. My daytime job in the finance industry and a home side business doing a few accounts for people. It would be easier to get money from the government inside of looking for other ways to support my family.  Before I did the home accounting work, I worked at a restaurant as a waitress. I have children. I want them to see that it takes hard work to get the many nice things they have. If we don't have enough money then that's it. I don't go to the salon. I fix my own hair. My nails are also done by myself. The expenses are for my children. For their school, so they have the best opportunity possible. 

        If I can do this as a single mother. There is no reason that others cannot. 

        • Anonymous says:

          Some people do really have  ahard time making ends meet with jobs being so hard to find but social services helps those single mothers taht are in the bar room every weekend, nails done, hair done all the latest gadgets.  That is what I find so annoying.  If they have money to dress up then they can support their children.  I don't know the last time I've had my nails done because I don't have money for that.

    • Anonymous says:

      This is not everyone who is on the social assistance but there are many. Those many are spoiling it for the ones that actually need the money. Eg my neighbor has never worked a day in her life. She is in her late 30s and has her rent paid by govt and receives food vouchers and whatever else she needs. She is able bodied, healthy, young and quite attractive.  She may have a mental illness,but that is more tongue in cheek. I say this because which normal person doesn't want to work and receive fulfillment from receiving that pay check. She isn't lazy cause she is up early and gets out and about. If she isn't well educated, there are lots of jobs that require little education. Besides, I've worked with individuals who didn't have formal education but worked up the ranks and make very good money. At last check $60,000 kyd. Not bad for some good old fashioned hard work. 

      This woman, my neighbor, has no incentive to get off social assistance. It is limitless what she is able to receive and she is aware of the loopholes. She could be an excellent advisor in the social services department as she knows the system inside out! 

      • Anonymous says:

        She is no my neighbour but sounds like someone that I know. Keeps going and pretending that she is looking a job and then carrys in the proof that she went to certain places looking a job. When the person in office looks at the paper showing that she was a few place loking a job with no success then she continues for a few more months to get the food vouchers. She is always well dressed never looking tired in the supermarket picking up her food….

      • Anonymous says:

        We have the same type in the Brac.  Young and healthy with up to five children, rent, school fee, light bills, hospital bills, helpers etc all paid for my Social Services.  When you see them in the supermarket buying cases of soda, chips, frozen pizza etc with their vouchers, nothing substantial for the kids.  Every friday @ the saloon putting on fake hair and nails before they start the weekend alcohol binge.  And dont mention work, thats a bad word.  Every excuse in the book. Its a cyrying shame!  

      • Anonymous says:

        17:47  I guess you are breaking the law of the commandments. Love thy neighbor as thyself.

        Shame on you.  christian. my foot.