(JAMAICA STAR) – Some Jamaicans who have been a part of the J-1 summer work and travel programme are considering themselves to be rather lucky as they have been receiving a slice of the US stimulus package (stimulus cheque).
The stimulus cheque is a one-time cash payment, valued at US$1,200, which is intended to help Americans in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Jamaicans who have travelled to the US for work automatically became eligible for the payment, since they would have filed a federal tax return in 2018 or 2019.
One person who was a part of the J-1 programme in 2019 told THE STAR that she wasn’t expecting to get the money.
“Me never know that I would get any money, so I’m happy. But depending on how long this pandemic lasts, I’m planning to spend it on food and other essentials,” she said. “I’m also going to buy a flat-screen TV and a toaster, ’cause we have to think practical in this pandemic.”
The first batch of stimulus cheques went out last week.
John*, another Jamaican who travelled on the J-1 programme in 2018 and 2019, received his payment via direct deposit.
“A sleep me did a sleep, and somebody call me and wake up early in the morning and tell me say me fi check me account, and me see it in there,” he told THE STAR. “And me feel really good about it; it feel like an early Christmas gift.”
He said that he planned to use the money for ‘personal things’.
“Me a go buy a PlayStation, because me locked in and me nuh really have much fi do. Some will also be used on my house; it already start, but me just a go add some finishing touches,” he said.
A second stimulus cheque might be released, as the first payment may not be enough for Americans who have lost their jobs or who are faced with financial hardship. Recommendations are for eligible persons to receive $2,000 in cash monthly for at least six months.
John is hoping he will be among the batch to receive a second payment.
“I would be really grateful, because the money could help me out to pay outstanding debt and loans. There is a lot of other stuff I have in mind, and money was a major factor preventing me, so that money could do a lot for me in many ways,” he said.