UNHCR provides cash assistance so that forcibly displaced persons can preserve their dignity and meet their basic needs. Cash assistance is only reserved for the most vulnerable asylum-seekers and refugees.
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.
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 their conditions.
Emergencies are defined as the sudden onset of high risk or harm. If faced with an emergency and are 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.
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.
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.
How to Apply
- One application must be submitted per individual or family*.
- If you require assistance, and believe you fulfill the definition of vulnerability outlined under the “Eligibility for Assistance” tab (above), you are responsible for presenting adequate and accurate information to support your case.
- Visit Living Water Community (LWC) at its offices at:
- 109 Frederick Street, Port-of-Spain, Trinidad on Monday to Thursday from 8:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
- The Red Cross Society on Signal Hill Road, Signal Hill. Tobago on Monday to Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
- Our Lady of Perpetual Help, 20 Harris Promenade, San Fernando on Monday or Thursday from 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
- Bring copies of all UNHCR cards and documents relevant to your or your family’s case. For instance, bring any medical documents that may be relevant to you or your family’s case. Additionally, if you have experienced theft, robbery, or another crime or emergency, bring copies of photographs and/or any supporting evidence which may be beneficial to your case.
- Cases are seen on a first come, first served basis. You will be given a number and must wait until it is called.
- When called, a LWC representative will ask some questions and accept your documents.
- LWC will then submit your documents to UNHCR.
- You will be notified by UNHCR about the decision three weeks from your application date. You will receive this notification by SMS and/or e-mail.
- If you are approved, LWC will contact you with an assigned date and time for collection.
- The applicant for assistance must be the one to collect it. Please bring your UNHCR asylum-seeker or refugee certificate or card when collecting.
- In exceptional circumstances, if you need to arrange for someone else to collect the assistance, please alert Living Water Community at [email protected] prior to the date of collection. Additionally, bring a signed authorization letter when collecting, as well as a copy of the beneficiary’s UNHCR card.