Press Release

Ministry of Health & Social Development
Social Development
Social Welfare
Release Date:
Monday, 27 June 2022 - 10:31am

Minister for Health and Social Development Honourable Marlon Penn announced the launch of a Transition Grant Programme during a press conference held today.

In its Framework for Implementing the Commission of Inquiry Recommendations, Government agreed to transfer all social assistance grants disbursed by Members of the House of Assembly (HOA) and Government Ministries to the Social Development Department by the end of June. A temporary Transition Grant Programme was launched to allow recipients of monthly grants to maintain existing benefits, while having an opportunity to apply for Public Assistance.

“A three-month transition grant will be implemented by the Social Development Department from July to September, 2022 and will only be paid to individuals who had previously been approved for monthly or bi-monthly assistance grants,” Honourable Penn said.

The Minister for Health also noted that during the three-month transition period, each grant recipient will be assessed to determine if they are eligible for enrolment into the Public Assistance Programme. For persons who do not qualify for Public Assistance, benefit payments will stop at the end of September.

The Public Assistance Act of 2013 stipulates that, in addition to establishing financial need, the Committee must verify that the applicant falls into at least one of the following categories. The beneficiary must be:

· a Belonger, or holder of a Certificate of Residence; or

· married to a Belonger and living together with that person in the Virgin Islands; or

· responsible for the care of a dependent person who is a Belonger or resident.

Priority is given to vulnerable children, persons over 65, unemployed persons, and persons with disabilities.

Persons interested in applying for Public Assistance can do so by filling out an intake form that can be found via the web at  Persons are also encouraged to contact the Social Development by email at or by telephone at 468-3650 for more information.

The Public Assistance Programme is Government’s main vehicle for delivering means-tested benefits to low-income and vulnerable households. The programme also makes provision to offer assistance during an emergency or crisis. Government remains committed to strengthening Social Protection policies and programmes, which aim to reducing poverty and inequality, and improving economic security in the Virgin Islands.


Natasha Lettsome-Humphrey

Public Health Communications Specialist
Ministry of Health/Social Development
Telephone: 468-2286