The Government?s Social Pension Scheme is currently benefiting 15,707 senior citizens around the country. Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, Hon. Rosy Akbar says that 2324 are new beneficiaries who were approved through the new age eligibility that came into effect in July this year.
?As of July this year, the eligibility criteria for Social Pension Scheme (SPS) also includes the senior citizens who are 68 years and above and who don?t have access to any form of superannuation funds like (FNPF, Ex-Servicemen, Aftercare Fund) have applied for the monthly pension. A total of 2324 senior citizens had been assisted through the new age criteria.
?In 2015, Government has reformed the Social Pension Scheme to reduce the age of eligibility from 70 years to 68 years and to increase the monthly allowance from $30 to $50. The funding for this program has been increased from $3 million to $8 million in order to carry out this reform,? Minister Akbar said.
Minister Akbar said such programs have been initiated by the Fijian government recognized the contributions of senior citizens.
?The establishment of the National Council for Older Persons (NCOP) and the implementation of much awaited programs such as the Social Pension Scheme (SPS) and Bus Fare Subsidy have been created through the Government?s commitment to promote a supportive and inclusive society for the senior citizens in Fiji.?
Meanwhile, a total of 46,133 senior citizens and 2101 persons living with disabilities are also benefiting from the Government?s Bus fare subsidy.
The Ministry also spearheads the National Council for Older Persons (NCOP) that consists of representatives from Government and Non-Government Organisations (NGO?s) working actively to promote the wellbeing and interests of senior citizens.
?Matters concerning the welfare of senior citizens are treated with urgency and as such the Ministry will continue to increase its reach to the ageing population. Their contributions towards developing this nation will not go unrecognized,? Minister Akbar said.