JIS News

By September, the Ministry of Labour and Social Security will be using a Revised Proxy-Means Scoring Formula, which will serve to better identify and capture the socio-economic conditions of families who are in need of welfare assistance. Addressing a JIS ‘Think Tank’ on June 28, Director of Social Security and Project Director of the Programme of Advancement through Health and Education (PATH), Colette Roberts-Risden, said that the revised formula would be able to identify the poorest class of persons in Jamaica more effectively, whom the PATH programme was established to serve.
“One of the features of PATH, which is different from programmes of the past, is that we use a scoring formula or a proxy-means test to target who is poor. Previously the selection method was subjective, and what we have done is taken the subjectivity out of the selection process, by developing this scoring formula to improve targeting of the poor,” she explained.
Acknowledging that the current formula captures 80 per cent of beneficiaries who are from the poorest social quintile, she said the Ministry wished to increase this percentage and capture more persons who were genuinely in need, thus the introduction of the revised formula, which would better identify such persons.
“The Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) developed the (first) formula.and we are now working with PIOJ to review that formula. The aim is that by the end of the summer we will have a revised scoring formula in place,” she pointed out.
The PATH programme targets poor families to include children, the elderly, the disabled, pregnant and lactating women. Children from birth to 17 years old make up 68 per cent of the number of beneficiaries on the programme; 28 per cent of beneficiaries are elderly; 3 per cent are disabled, and less than 1 per cent are pregnant and lactating women.
Currently, there are 230,000 persons on the programme, which is able to accommodate 252,000. On average, the programme disburses $210 million every two months to its beneficiaries.
The programme was introduced in 2002, and is administered by the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, in collaboration with the Ministries of Health and Education and Youth.
PATH addresses poverty on conditional terms. The programme provides cash grants to its beneficiaries, however, children are required to attend school at least 85 per cent of the time, while all beneficiaries are required to attend the health centres for routine checks at least twice per year.

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