Despite administrative delays stalling the issuance of welfare cheques to senior citizens, Premier Dr Natalio Wheatley said they can rest assured the Social Assistance Programme will continue and those who did not receive a cheque for May will receive it in the coming days.
“There were some administrative challenges in getting it done in the way it was done before. They had to do so manually and that caused a bit of a delay, but those seniors will get their cheques,” the Premier stated recently.
The Premier said the Commission of Inquiry
report rightly concluded that there is a need for social assistance in the territory and it also calls for a review of the existing system for welfare benefits.
He added that Sir Gary Hickenbottom also rightly concluded in the COI
report that people depending on social assistance should not suffer in the interim while the government transition to a new social assistance system.
“That is why he mentioned in the report that they should not have their assistance taken away and I had a discussion with the governor in ensuring that we had a transition period to the new system based on the proposal that must be implemented in July,” Dr Wheatley said.
“So, I had a discussion with the House of Assembly clerk to ensure that those seniors who would normally get monthly cheques continue [to receive them].
Dr Wheatley said the Minister for Social Development Marlon Penn will be presenting his proposal on behalf of the Government of National Unity on how assistance will continue under his ministry.
Last month, the Premier announced the government will be moving from its hybrid social assistance system to a central-standardised institutional system where the Social Development Department will be solely responsible for providing social assistance to residents.
The previous system saw the public assistance programme run by the Social Development Department alongside the House of Assembly assistance grants programme and the provision of ministry assistance grants.