Cash Assistance

COVID-19 Response: Cash assistance update

UNHCR provides cash assistance so that forcibly displaced persons can preserve their dignity and meet their basic needs. Cash assistance is reserved for the most vulnerable asylum-seekers and refugees. Each application for cash assistance is evaluated on a case-by-case basis, and without discrimination on the basis of nationality, religion, time period in Trinidad and Tobago, race or ethnicity.

Cash is no longer given as a solution for specific problems or requests. Instead, an impartial UNHCR committee conducts a total assessment of each family* and individual’s situation, considering all material provided for the application.

It is therefore the responsibility of each individual or family to provide adequate and accurate information to support each case. It is your responsibility to let UNHCR know of any changes to your family composition.

*For the purpose of this application, a family consists of parent/s, their children who are minors, and any adult dependents. Exceptions to this definition may apply.

***CASH ASSISTANCE UPDATE on 21 August 2020***

Please note that the procedure for applying for cash assistance has been affected by adapted office operations, due to COVID-19 and Government regulations.

Applications can be made during in-person or remote interviews and appointments, or by contacting:

  • UNHCR via telephone at
    • +1-868-296-3881 [Monday to Sunday 9:00am – 5:00pm];
    • +1-868-309-7394 [Monday to Sunday 5:00pm – 9:00pm];
    • o or via email at [email protected].
  • LWC via telephone at +1-868-866-0025 or +1-868-296-3562 (urgent matters); or via email at [email protected].

If you have already made a request for assistance, please note that you will receive another communication from UNHCR within 2 to 3 weeks informing you of the status of your request (approved/not approved).

Notifications on cash assistance applications will be provided only to the cash applicant at the contact information provided. Cash applicants are therefore encouraged to share accurate and updated contact information to which they will have access for at least 3 weeks after applying.

Yours respectfully,
UNHCR Trinidad and Tobago

Eligibility for Assistance


Consideration is given on a case-by-case basis. Decisions will not be based on nationality, religion, length of time in Trinidad and Tobago, race or ethnicity.

Categories of people considered highly vulnerable include—depending on their circumstances— those with conditions that significantly impact their ability to perform daily functions, as well as unaccompanied minors. Other cases may also qualify for cash assistance, depending on the circumstances.


Emergencies are defined as the sudden onset of high risk or harm. If faced with an emergency and in need, as an asylum-seeker or refugee, you are eligible to apply for assistance—even if you recently applied and were not successful.

Ineligibility for Assistance

Persons generally ineligible for cash assistance include:

  • Persons who are not registered with UNHCR
  • Persons married to citizens of Trinidad and Tobago
  • Persons who benefit from other sources of income and/or funds
  • Persons who submit misleading information or deliberately misrepresent their situation in order to benefit from financial assistance

Note that exceptions to the above may exist.

Collecting Assistance

If your application is approved, you will receive a notification to schedule an appointment for collection or delivery. All COVID-19 protocols must be observed to ensure safety, including wearing a mask for appointments.

Method and Value of Payment

Generally, if you are granted assistance, you will receive a one-time payment in the form of a Republic Bank Card. This payment will be given according to family size. Additionally, depending on other circumstances, exceptions to frequency and value of assistance may apply.

Six-Month Rule

You can only reapply for assistance six months after you collect your payment, if your application was successful—or six months after you receive your notification, if it was unsuccessful.

Exceptions to this rule exist in the cases of emergency, in which you are able apply for cash assistance at any point in time—even within this six-month period.