JIS News

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  • The Government has instituted a $1-billion safety net programme to benefit elderly persons who are not covered by existing schemes.
  • Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr. the Hon. Nigel Clarke, provided details about the initiative while opening the 2020/2021 Budget Debate in the House of Representatives on Tuesday (March 10).
  • He said that the programme will be a “modest social pension to cover the poor and vulnerable segment of the elderly population that is not on the Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH), the National Insurance Scheme (NIS), a private pension, or poor relief”.

The Government has instituted a $1-billion safety net programme to benefit elderly persons who are not covered by existing schemes.

Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr. the Hon. Nigel Clarke, provided details about the initiative while opening the 2020/2021 Budget Debate in the House of Representatives on Tuesday (March 10).

He said that the programme will be a “modest social pension to cover the poor and vulnerable segment of the elderly population that is not on the Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH), the National Insurance Scheme (NIS), a private pension, or poor relief”.

It is estimated that there are 30,000 elderly persons who are poor and vulnerable and not in receipt of NIS, pension or poor relief.

The Minister explained that in the design of the new system, care was taken to ensure that there is no disincentive to enrol in the NIS. As such, the benefit level and the age at which one can qualify for the assistance will differ from the NIS.

Dr. Clarke said the scheme is designed to provide “sustainable material benefit and improved conditions for the Jamaican people”.

It is also intended to correct historical and structural inequities, which have made it difficult for informally employed persons to contribute to the NIS.

Meanwhile, Dr. Clarke said that the Government, through the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, will innovate to increase NIS coverage, so that over the course of the next decade, the population of persons that can qualify for the new social pension, by virtue of not being in receipt of NIS and being poor and vulnerable, decreases over time.

“By definition, that population will increase at first but, ultimately, it will hit a maximum, and then start to fall as we dramatically increase NIS coverage,” he said.

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