FSM government to roll out social, cash assistance programs in January

FSM President David Panuelo (still image from a video posted by the Office of the FSM President)

The Government of the Federated States of Micronesia is planning to roll out several social protection programs at the start of 2021 —- including a one-time cash transfer grant of $1,000 for eligible low-income households.

The initiative is part of the COVID-19 pandemic assistance program funded in part by a $14 million grant from the Asian Development Bank.

 According to the FSM President’s Office, around 4,500 households will benefit from the $1,000 grant. The funding is intended to provide temporary cash relief for households outside of the formal labor sector, such as subsistence farmers and fishermen, and specifically laborers who do not qualify for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program.

 The FSM government will also roll out a $2 million food security program for community groups and low-income households. The funding will support subsistence livelihood trainings, procurement of farming and fishing materials, and seed distribution.

 Approximately $1 million dollars has been appropriated for a financial assistance program for vulnerable groups such as the elderly, persons with disabilities, and survivors of gender-based violence.

 Meanwhile, the community-based COVID-19 awareness grant is intended to strengthen awareness of COVID-19, inclusive of education on handwashing and social distancing, distribution of soaps, masks, and informational materials, and piloting a gender-based violence hotline in Pohnpei State.

 Approximately $2 million has been appropriated for the program.

 Stranded citizens

 Also, more than 420 of its stranded citizens abroad have received financial assistance of $1,000 per person, or $1,500 per family application, as part of the second batch of financial assistance distributed by the government.

 “It’s vital that stranded citizens receive this second round of assistance before Christmas,” FSM President David Panuelo said in a statement. “Too many of our stranded citizens are having trouble paying for housing, food, and essential medications. I have instructed our Department of Finance & Administration to prioritize this effort.”

 According to the FSM national government, stranded citizens who have already received the first payment will receive the second payment through the payment method they selected in the first round of applications.

Stranded citizens who have not already applied for assistance are encouraged to do so. Information on how to apply is available here: https://dofa.gov.fm/assistance-to-stranded-citizen/