JIS News

The regulations under the National Insurance Act are to be amended, to enable more retirees to qualify for a pension.
The move, which was announced by Prime Minister, Portia Simpson Miller, in her contribution to the 2007/08 Budget Debate in the House of Representatives yesterday (May 1) will result in approximately 5,000 more contributors and their dependents becoming immediately eligible for a range of benefits.
“These will include old age and invalidity pensions, funeral grants and the National Insurance Gold Health plan. This will cost us approximately $200 million. It is money we are prepared to spend, because we honour those who have served us,” Mrs. Simpson Miller stated.
In terms of other initiatives targeted at the elderly, the Prime Minister told the House that, “construction is now underway, for a new female residence at the Westmoreland Infirmary.this will be completed during the year. Construction will begin this year, on a new infirmary in Hanover, and one in St James, while rehabilitation work will commence at the Portland Infirmary”.
She noted that the government has been systematically upgrading the island’s infirmaries, with work already completed in St. Elizabeth, Clarendon, and Manchester, while during the last fiscal year, a new residence and dining facility at the St. Thomas Infirmary was “substantially completed”.
Meanwhile, during the past two years, more than $30 million was allocated to the special assistance programme for indigent housing.
More than 675 families have benefited under the programme, and the cases of another 75 persons, are being reviewed.

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