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The Ministry of Labour and Social Security has proposed an average increase of 16.4 per cent to the Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH) cash grants, with effect from June 2019.

This will benefit an estimated 284,000 persons who fall within the vulnerable groups of children, the elderly, pregnant/lactating women, persons with disabilities, and poor adults.

This was disclosed by Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr. the Hon. Nigel Clarke, as he opened the 2019/20 Budget Debate in the House of Representatives, on March 7.

Dr. Clarke said the proposed increases in the cash grant to beneficiaries range from 14 to 23.1 per cent for the 2019/20 financial year.

“Some $8.3 billion has been allocated to the PATH Programme to facilitate PATH cash benefits, inclusive of the increases. With this increase, over the course of the Andrew Holness administration, individual cash grants under PATH will have increased by between 45 per cent and 55 per cent,” he noted.

In addition, the Ministry of Labour and Social Security is implementing an aggressive strategy to reach into deep rural areas to educate households about their eligibility to apply for PATH benefits, and assist these households with the application process.

Also, additional case workers will also be deployed to strengthen compliance under PATH. It is estimated that about 1,000 families will be case-managed, and grants provided, where needed.