JIS News

The Programme of Advancement through Health and Education (PATH) is moving towards greater efficiency in its cheque payment system, by utilizing pressure-sealed cheques.
This, after a successful pilot in October involving 13 post offices in St. Catherine, where some 2,000 families were paid using these cheques.
Speaking with JIS News, Acting Project Director, Jacqueline Foster, said that starting with the next round of payments in December, PATH will be issuing pressure-sealed cheques to beneficiaries island-wide. She said the method is cost effective and less labour intensive.
“Right now, for us to do payments, we work with a large team of persons working consistently two weeks overtime. The pressure-sealed cheques make it easier, because we run it on the computer then through the laser printer, and then we pressure seal it,” Mrs. Foster said. “We send it out in the same method as our security bags to the post office. Cheques can be printed in 20 minutes; this method is really much more efficient,” she added.
In the meantime, Mrs. Foster reveals that for the December payments, PATH will be extending its cash card system to the parishes of Trelawny, St. Ann, St. Mary, St. James and St. Thomas. Under the programme, beneficiaries are paid through a cash card or via cheque.
“We don’t give cash cards to persons with agents, and we tend not to encourage the elderly to use the cash cards, because we have found that they have a problem remembering their pin,” Mrs. Foster said.
Starting early next year, PATH will also be embarking on an island-wide re-certification campaign, where all households currently under the programme will be visited and assessed, to determine continued eligibility.
PATH was introduced in 2002 to replace three social assistance programmes – outdoor poor relief, food stamp, and the public assistance programmes. It is administered by the Ministry of Labour and Social Security in collaboration with the Ministries of Health and Education.
The programme targets poor families, the elderly, the disabled, and pregnant and lactating women, by providing cash grants and other benefits.

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