Some $35 million is being spent by the Ministry of Labour and Social Security to re-certify 38,000 families who are beneficiaries under the Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH) initiative.
The exercise which is currently ongoing has assessed over 10,000 families so far and is slated to be completed in September.
Speaking at an editor’s forum on the PATH initiative, at the Knutsford Court Hotel in Kingston on Friday, June 14, Director of Social Security in the Ministry, Denzil Thorpe said that the recertification process is to ensure that persons receiving benefits are still eligible to be on the programme and also to include more beneficiaries.
Mr. Thorpe said the data gathered from the recertification exercise will be analysed to inform the exit strategy for eligible PATH families.
“One of the things that the recertification exercise is going to guide us in is our graduation policy…It is not that we intend after recertification to just cut off people immediately off the programme; where we identify that a family’s situation has improved, we are going to be implementing our graduation policy,” he said.
He explained that this policy determines how persons are removed from the programme, and is done in such a way that they are not worse than before.
Mr. Thorpe said even though the exercise is to be carried out every four years, this has not been achieved as a result of factors such as cost and the number of households assigned to each social worker which can reach up to 1500.
Over $4 billion has been set aside in this year’s budget for the PATH initiative which is aimed at delivering benefits by way of cash grants to the poorest and most vulnerable persons in the society. Currently approximately 390,000 persons in over 130,000 Jamaican families are registered under the programme.
The forum focused on the Beneficiary Identification Systems (BIS) and Findings of the 2012 Targeting Assessment of the PATH which was undertaken by Consultant, Professor Godfrey Gibbison.
In accordance with PATH’s Operations Manual, recertification is done on all households that have been registered to the programme for a period of four (4) years.
CONTACT: CHRIS PATTERSON