The Government has allocated $800 million to implement the Social Pension Programme this fiscal year.
The first phase of the programme, which begins on July 15, targets seniors 75 years and older who are not in receipt of a pension, disability benefit or other retirement benefit or income.
Persons receiving cash grants from the Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH) and poor relief initiatives will be transitioned to the new programme when they reach the age of 75.
Speaking in the House of Representatives on April 27, Minister of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Karl Samuda, said beneficiaries will receive $3,400 monthly and must not be residing in a government institutional care facility.
He said that the programme is the first of its kind in Jamaica and is the largest social protection initiative to be implemented by the Government since the introduction of PATH almost 20 years ago.
Minister Samuda said that based on the methodology for support under PATH, the selection rate for the elderly, who may be living alone or are “asset rich but income poor”, is low.
Mr. Samuda told the House that the introduction of the social pension scheme will reduce income inequality and promote a better quality of life for the older population, noting that the initiative is another signal that the Government will not let anyone fall through the cracks.
The Ministry Paper on the Social Pension Programme was also tabled in the House on April 27.