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SPACE – Options for rapid delivery (payment) of cash transfers for COVID-19 responses and beyond

1 July 2020 — By Rodolfo Beazley, Will Derban, Valentina Barca and input from experts on SPACE - Social Protection Approaches to COVID-19: Expert Advice Helpline

This note describes the main strategies used by, and available to, countries to deliver cash support in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The objective of the note is to inform both ongoing responses to COVID-19 and medium to long term investments in delivery mechanisms that could be used to respond to future crises. In detail, it builds on existing literature to provide governments and development partners with concise information on the main payment options available, outlining strengths and weaknesses of each, as well as pre-requisites and key actions required for their inclusive implementation.

It is important to highlight that this note focuses on:

– the provision of cash support to new beneficiaries, not existing ones. Reaching new caseloads is more challenging than supporting existing beneficiaries since it requires creating new payment mechanisms or adapting/leveraging existing ones.
– monetary or semi-monetary transfers (vouchers), not in-kind;
– Government to Person (G2P) transfers and Humanitarian cash delivery (noting considerations will differ slightly across the two);
– social assistance transfers primarily, not social insurance.