Puerto Rico’s First Responders Will Receive Much-Needed Economic Relief

Vazquez nurses economic relief

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By Mivette Vega

May 21, 2020

Governor Wanda Vázquez announced a round of economic aid for nurses, bailiffs, and employees of the Forensic Science Bureau and the Medical Emergency Bureau.

Nurses from Puerto Rico’s public health system will receive a $4,000 economic benefit starting on Tuesday.

Governor Wanda Vázquez announced the new economic incentive, which will also benefit other first responders.

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“This round of incentive payments of $4,000 for nurses in the public sector will also benefit the bank accounts of 744 other professionals. The new bond disbursement totals $2,976,000, which added to the $3.6 million we have distributed since April adds up to more than $6.5 million for this sector,” said Vázquez in a press release.

The secretary of the local treasury department (Departmento de Hacienda), Francisco Parés, said the economic incentive will benefit a total of 5,508 nurses in the public sector.

“So far we have paid via different agencies, and this time directly paid the 1,591 workers in this sector, who continue to contribute daily with their work so that those affected by the coronavirus can recover,” said Parés in a release.

Who’s Left Out?

This round of incentives does not benefit nurses from the private sector, a group severely affected by the pandemic. Several private hospitals had to lay off staff because of the drop in inpatient care and patient visits due to fear of contracting the novel virus. Approximately 2,000 nurses in private hospitals have lost their jobs.

Parés also said nurses in the private sector, and those who work for professional services will soon receive a $3,000 incentive. The number of nurses in the private sector is estimated at 24,460, while those in the professional services field make up an additional 6,460.

These groups of nurses will be able to access a treasury platform called SURI and enter bank account information toward the end of next week. The treasury will process the disbursements after.

Other first responders to receive the current round of economic benefits include 1,129 bailiffs who will each get $700. The 220 employees of the Forensic Science Bureau and the 489 employees of the Medical Emergency Bureau will all get an incentive of $3,500 per head.

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