Financial Assistance Act 2001

Link to law: http://www.bermudalaws.bm/Laws/Annual%20Laws/2001/Acts/Financial%20Assistance%20Act%202001.pdf

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Financial Assistance Act 2001.pdf

FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE ACT 2001



BERMUDA

2001 : 24

FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE ACT 2001

[Date of Assent: 8 August 2001]

[Operative Date: 28 May 2004]


ARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS

1 Short title and
commencement

2 Interpretation
3 Director of Financial

Assistance: his functions
and duties

4 Powers of Director
5 Government departments

to provide information to
Director

6 Qualified persons
7 Application for award
8 Grant and refusal of

applications for awards
9 Conditions applicable to

awards
10 Suspension of award

11 Revocation of award
12 Review of awards
13 Recovery of overpayment
14 Rights of appeal
15 Financial Assistance

Review Board
16 Determination of appeals
17 Costs, procedure and

evidence
18 Award inalienable
19 Government not liable to

supplier of goods or
services

20 Death of recipient
21 Regulations by Minister
22 Repeal and transitional




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FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE ACT 2001


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WHEREAS it is expedient to make provision for the
administration of financial assistance to persons in need.

Be it enacted by The Queen's Most Excellent Majesty, by and
with the advice and consent of the Senate and the House of Assembly of
Bermuda, and by the authority of the same, as follows:⎯

Short title and commencement
1. This Act may be cited as the Financial Assistance Act 2001 and
shall come into operation on such day as the Minister may appoint by
notice published in the Gazette.

Interpretation
2. In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires —

"Act" includes regulations made thereunder;

"award" means a financial assistance payment awarded under
this Act to a recipient;

“Board” means the Board established under section 15;

"dependent" means a person who is financially dependent on his
guardian and who —

(a) is under the age of eighteen years and not in full-time
employment; or

(b) is under the age of twenty-five years and is either receiv-
ing full-time instruction at an educational establishment
or is undergoing training for a trade, profession or
vocation; or

(c) is a disabled person and is living in the household of his
guardian ;

"disabled person" means a person who is suffering from mental
or physical disablement;

“financial assistance” means financial benefits given to a
recipient under this Act to enable him to maintain a
minimum standard of living;

"guardian" in relation to a person who is a dependent, means a
person who has the charge of and who is otherwise
responsible for the care and well-being of the dependent
person;

"Minister" means the Minister charged with responsibility for
financial assistance;


FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE ACT 2001


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"recipient" means a person who is in receipt of an award under
this Act.

Director of Financial Assistance : his functions and duties
3. (1) There shall continue to be a Director of Financial Assistance
whose office shall be a public office.

(2) The Director shall have the functions and shall exercise the
powers conferred on him by or under this Act .

(3) The Director shall administer and control in accordance
with this Act, all moneys appropriated by the Legislature for the purpose
of providing financial assistance to persons in need, and advise the
Minister generally on the management and administration of such
moneys.

(4) The Director shall as soon as practicable after the end of the
Government's financial year make to the Minister and publish in such
manner as he thinks appropriate a report of his activities under this Act
for that year.

Powers of Director
4. (1) In the exercise of his functions under this Act, the Director
may —

(a) require an applicant for an award or a recipient to
provide him with such information and produce such
documents as he may specify;

(b) require such applicant or recipient to attend at such
time and place as the Director may require to be
examined as to his means and circumstances; and.

(c) enter premises occupied by an applicant for an award or
a recipient to make such examination and enquiry as he
may deem to be necessary for investigating the circum-
stances of the applicant or recipient or other member of
his household.

(2) The Director may authorise an officer of his department to
exercise his powers under this section and shall furnish such officer with
an authorisation signed by him.

(3) An officer exercising powers by virtue of an authority under
this section shall, if so required, produce evidence of his authorisation.

Government departments to provide information to Director
5. Every Government department shall provide to the Director such
information as he may reasonably require in the exercise of his functions
under this Act.


FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE ACT 2001


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Qualified persons
6. A person is qualified to apply for an award under this Act if , and
shall not be so qualified to apply unless, on the date of the application,
he —

(a) possesses Bermudian status;

(b) is the spouse of a person who possesses Bermudian
status and has cohabited in Bermuda with that person
for a period of not less than three years ending with the
date of the application for the award; or

(c) is a person who is the guardian of a dependent who
possesses Bermudian status; and

(d) is not serving a sentence of imprisonment.

Application for award
7. (1) A qualified person may apply to the Director for an award
under this section in such manner as may be prescribed by regulations.

(2) An application for an award may be withdrawn by notice in
writing to the Director at any time before he has determined the
application.

Grant and refusal of applications for awards
8. (1) Subject to this section, the Director may on an application
duly made in accordance with section 7 and after being provided with all
such information and documents as he may reasonably require under
that section, grant or refuse an application for an award.

(2) The Director shall not grant an award unless he is satisfied
that the applicant fulfills the criteria for eligibility for an award specified
in regulations.

(3) Where the Director approves an application, he shall inform
the applicant in writing of the amount of the award, the duration of the
award, the conditions attached to the award, and of the manner and
procedure relating to payments.

Conditions applicable to awards
9. (1) Every award granted under this Act shall be subject to the
general conditions specified in subsection (2) and to the special
conditions specified by virtue of subsection (3).

(2) It shall be a condition of every award granted under this Act
that the recipient ⎯

(a) shall notify the Director in writing forthwith⎯


FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE ACT 2001


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(i) of any change in his circumstances which, had
he not been in receipt of an award, would
disqualify him from applying for an award;

(ii) of any change in his circumstances which would
make him ineligible to receive an award;

(iii) of any change in his address;

(iv) of any change in the circumstances of a member
of his household who is directly or indirectly
benefiting from the award; and

(v) of his intention or the intention of any member
of his household who is so benefiting , to travel
outside Bermuda;

(b) shall provide such information and produce such
documents as the Director may reasonably require; and

(c) shall attend at such time and place as the Director may
require to be examined as to his means and
circumstances.

(3) Without prejudice to the conditions specified in subsection
(2), the Director may in any particular case impose conditions ⎯

(a) requiring the recipient to take up employment or
specified employment;

(b) requiring the recipient to attend a course of vocational
training or a specified course of vocational training;

(c) requiring the recipient to apply payments received under
the award to specified purposes.

(4) In subsection (3) "specified" means specified by the Director.

Suspension of award
10. Where it appears to the Director that a question has arisen in
relation to a recipient’s eligibility for an award or as to whether a
determination by the Director in granting an award ought to be reviewed,
the Director may suspend the award in whole or in part until that
question has been determined by him.

Revocation of award
11. (1) The Director may revoke an award made to a recipient
under this Act⎯

(a) if he is satisfied that the recipient has breached any
general or special condition of his award;


FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE ACT 2001


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(b) if any circumstances arise such that, if that person were
not a recipient, would cause him to be disqualified for
applying for an award under section 6;

(c) if the recipient has ceased to fulfill the criteria for
eligibility for an award;

(d) if the recipient in connection with an application for an
award or otherwise, has provided false, misleading or
inaccurate information.

(2) The Director shall revoke an award upon the death of
the recipient.

Review of awards
12. The Director may, on new facts being brought to his notice, or if
he is satisfied that the decision was given in ignorance of, or was based
on a misapprehension as to some material fact, review any decision given
by him in relation to the award and upon review may revoke or vary the
award.

Recovery of overpayment
13. (1) The Director may require a recipient to repay any sum of
money improperly paid under an award ('overpayment') as a result of
non-disclosure of facts, misrepresentation or for any other cause and
may suspend further payments under the award until such sum has
been paid.

(2) The Director may waive the overpayment or may require the
recipient to pay a reduced amount if he is satisfied that a recipient has
exercised due care and diligence to avoid the overpayment.

(3) Where the Director determines that the recovery of an
overpayment from a recipient or, in the event of his death, from his
estate, would cause undue hardship to the recipient or to a member of
his household benefiting directly or indirectly from the award, he may
waive the overpayment or may require the recipient or the estate, as the
case may be, to pay a reduced amount.

(4) Where any sum is required to be repaid by a recipient under
subsection (1), the Director may recover such sum as a debt owing to
Government in any court of competent jurisdiction.

Rights of appeal
14. A person aggrieved by a decision of the Director⎯

(a) to refuse his application for an award;

(b) to impose special conditions on his award;


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(c) to suspend in whole or in part his award;

(d) to vary his award;

(e) to revoke his award; or

(f) to require him to repay any sum of money under section
13;

may appeal against the decision to the Board.

Financial Assistance Review Board
15. The Minister shall appoint a Financial Assistance Review Board
to hear appeals against decision of the Director brought under section
14.

(2) The Board shall consist of a chairman, a deputy chairman
and three other members.

(3) The chairman or in his absence the deputy chairman shall
preside at all meetings of the Board.

(4) The chairman, deputy chairman and the members shall be
appointed by the Minister for a term not exceeding three years and may
be re-appointed.

(5) During any period of time when the chairman, deputy
chairman or member is absent from Bermuda or is for any other reason
unable to act, the Minister may appoint another person to act in his
place for the period of his absence or inability to act.

Determination of appeals
16. (1) On an appeal under section 14 the Board may confirm, vary
or reverse the decision which is the subject of the appeal.

(2) Notice of the Board's determination, together with a
statement of its reasons, shall be given to the appellant and to the
Director; and, unless the Board otherwise directs, the determination
shall come into operation when the notice is given to the appellant and to
the Director.

Costs, procedure and evidence
17. (1) The Board may give such directions as it thinks fit for the
payment of costs or expenses of the appellant.

(2) The Minister may make regulations with respect to appeals
and those regulations may in particular make provision⎯

(a) as to the period within which and the manner in which
such appeals are to be brought;


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(b) as to the manner in which such appeals are to be
conducted, including provision for any hearing to be
held in private and as to the persons entitled to appear
on behalf of the parties;

(c) as to the procedure to be adopted;

(d) for requiring an appellant or the Director to disclose or
allow the inspection of documents in his custody or
under his control;

(e) for requiring any person, on tender of the necessary
expenses of his attendance, to attend and give evidence
or produce documents in his custody or under his
control and for authorising the administration of oaths
to witnesses;

(f) for enabling an appellant to withdraw an appeal or the
Director to withdraw its opposition to an appeal and for
the consequences of any such withdrawal;

(g) as to any other matter connected with such appeals.

(3) Regulations made under subsection (2) shall be subject to
negative resolution procedure.

(4) A person who, having been required in accordance with
regulations made under this section to attend and give evidence, fails
without reasonable excuse to attend or give evidence, shall be guilty of
an offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine of $1,000.

(5) A person who without reasonable excuse alters, suppresses,
conceals, destroys or refuses to produce any document which he has
been required to produce in accordance with regulations under this
section, or which he is liable to be so required to produce, shall be guilty
of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine of $5,000 or to
imprisonment for six months or to both.

Award inalienable
18. No moneys payable under an award shall be subject to
alienation or transfer by a recipient or to attachment or seizure in
satisfaction of any claim against him.

Government not liable to supplier of goods or services
19. The Government is not liable for any payments in respect of
goods or services supplied to a recipient .


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Death of recipient
20. Where a recipient dies, the Director may pay the award for the
month in which the death occurs to a member of his household who has
been benefiting directly or indirectly from the award.

Regulations by Minister
21. (1) The Minister may make Regulations for carrying the purposes
and provisions of this Act into effect, and, without limiting the generality
of the foregoing, may make regulations providing —

(a) for the criteria for eligibility for awards under this Act;

(b) for the determination of the financial resources of any
person;

(c) for the time at which the payment of the award shall
commence, and the manner and procedure for payment
of the award to the recipient;

(d) that the income or capital of any person is to be taken as
exceeding or not exceeding, a prescribed amount;

(e) for the investigation into applications and into the
eligibility of a person to receive an award;

(f) for the reports to be made and the information to be
supplied by or in respect of applicants or recipients;

(g) for the verification of information that is submitted to
the Director;

(h) for the recovery of the amount of payments to which a
recipient was not entitled under an award; and

(i) for any matter which is authorised or required by this
Act to be prescribed by regulations.

(2) Regulations made under this section shall be subject to the
negative resolution procedure.

Repeal and transitional
22. (1) The Housing Allowance Act 1988 is repealed ('the repealed
enactment').

(2) Notwithstanding subsection (1), every allowance awarded
under the repealed enactment shall continue to be paid in accordance
with the provisions of the repealed enactment for a period commencing
on the day of commencement of this Act and ending on the first
anniversary of that date.


FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE ACT 2001


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