Ba senior citizens raise pension scheme concerns

Minister for Education Rosy Akbar celebrates the birthday of Tara Mati during her visit to the Senior Citizens Ba Community Centre yesterday. Picture: REINAL CHAND

SENIOR citizens in Ba have raised concerns about the Social Welfare Pension Scheme which they claim has been stopped or decreased.

While meeting at a networking consultation with Minister for Education Rosy Akbar yesterday, some elderly welfare recipients claimed they were unaware of the changes made to the monthly allowance.

According to one recipient, his monthly assistance was stopped after the Social Welfare Department found that he had a land lease title.

The sugarcane farmer claimed that he was unable to use the plot of land because there was no one at home to work on the farm.

Another recipient also alleged that his wife’s assistance was stopped while he was still part of the program.

“We used to both get the assistance, but now only I’m getting the help,” he said.

“We won’t be able to survive for one month if only one of us is getting the assistance.”

More than 20 complaints were lodged with the Education Minister.

Ms Akbar said the grievances were a concern.

“This networking discussion is a good thing and the fact that our senior citizens have issues that need to be addressed and it is something that we take seriously,” she said.

“The issues are in regards to welfare assistance, in particular, the Social Welfare Pension Scheme. Of course, I will direct these issues to the relevant line minister and from there they can take charge.”

Responding to questions from this newspaper, Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation Mereseini Vuniwaqa said the Social Welfare Department team in Ba would look into the claims.

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