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State Minister in the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, Andrew Gallimore, has said that an additional 115,000 persons, who fall below the poverty line, are expected to be registered on Programme for Advancement through Health and Education (PATH) by October 31 this year.
This is expected to increase the number of beneficiaries to approximately 359,000.
Speaking in the 2008/09 Sectoral Debate in Gordon House on Wednesday (July 2), Mr. Gallimore said that currently there are some 279,970 persons enrolled in the programme, who receive a monthly $650, up from the 244,000 two months ago who were receiving $530. He advised that the Cabinet-approved process to enroll the additional beneficiaries had commenced, which saw upwards of 32,000 of the targeted 115,000 added to the list as of June 15.
The State Minister pointed out that some 38,655 applicants who had applied previously but were rejected will be incorporated into the 115,000 to be added to the list. Furthermore, specific mechanisms are being used to determine the legitimacy of the applicants, he said.
“We now have a total of only 44,335 persons to be added to bring that complement of 115,000 to book, and we are on schedule to complete this by the end of October 2008. The Beneficiary Identification System (BIS) that was developed by the World Bank in collaboration with the PIOJ (Planning Institute of Jamaica) has been modified and the proxy means test, which utilizes a range of socio-economic and demographic variables to determine the poor, has been modified (for usage),” Mr. Gallimore outlined.
This, he added, is being complemented by house to house verification, which seeks to identify persons who have either re-located, died, or migrated, as well as any duplication or any cases of fraud, in order to enable the Ministry to help individuals who legitimately qualify for assistance.
“I will remind that all the NGOs (non-governmental organizations).churches.. Members of Parliament. Councillors, (and) any well thinking Jamaican that sees someone who they believe belongs on the PATH programme. feel free to let the Ministry of Labour and Social Security know, so that we can go and have the means test applied to see if they qualify,” Mr. Gallimore urged.