Cash Assistance

COVID-19 Response: Cash assistance update

UNHCR reaffirms its commitment to Refugees and Asylum Seekers in these unprecedented times. We are fully aware of the special challenges faced by Refugees and Asylum Seekers as a result of COVID-19 in Trinidad and Tobago. Unfortunately, the pandemic has also severely affected UNHCR’s financial resources, forcing us to revise and adjust our interventions, with significant impact on the cash assistance programme.

In this regard, the cash assistance programme is only reserved for Refugees and Asylum Seekers registered with UNHCR who are in an emergency situation and require immediate intervention, related to serious risks to their health, physical integrity or circumstances that seriously threaten the family.

The identification of persons eligible to receive cash assistance will be carried out by the UNHCR and LWC protection team and will be part of the regular protection monitoring and case management process without discrimination on the basis of nationality, religion, race or time period in Trinidad and Tobago. 

Requests for cash assistance via calls or messages to UNHCR hotlines will no longer be processed. Only emergency situations will be considered.


Emergencies are defined as the sudden onset of high risk or harm. If faced with an emergency and in need, asylum-seekers and refugees are eligible for assistance if the high risk or harm poses a threat to their health and physical integrity or creates circumstances that seriously threaten the family*.

*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.

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.

Pending Applications

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). The notification will be provided only to the cash applicant at the contact information provided.

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.