JIS News

A total of 3,313 families in Portland are receiving benefits under the Programme of Advancement through Health and Education (PATH), which was introduced in December 2002.
Maria Stampp, Acting Manager for the Portland office of the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, told JIS News, that the programme was progressing well in the parish and the beneficiaries were meeting their obligations in respect of having regular health checks and ensuring that their children attended school.
She noted however, that her office was seeking to increase beneficiaries under the programme and had recently started an enrolment drive.
PATH is a social security initiative, introduced a little over two years ago, to amalgamate the benefits under the Food Stamp, the Outdoor Poor Relief and Old Age and Incapacity Programmes.
Among its major goals and objectives are: to provide assistance for vulnerable groups in the society; increase educational attainment and improve health outcomes; serve as a safety net for the poor and to reduce poverty by increasing the value of benefits to the poor. Under the programme, $400 is provided to each eligible family member on a bi-monthly basis and beneficiaries are required to make regular visits to their health clinics and ensure that their children do not miss more than three days of school per month.
Among those who are eligible for assistance are children up to 17 years old, disabled persons, nursing mothers and persons over 60 years of age.

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