More persons now benefitting from Public Assistance programme

GINA, GUYANA, Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Effective January 1 2017, the Ministry of Social Protection’s Public Assistance was increased from $6500 to $7500.   With this increase, more persons are being supported, especially children, Director of Social Services at the Ministry of Social Protection, Whentworth Tanner.

Director of Social Services, Ministry of Social Protection, Whentworth Tanner

“The Social Services department can now accommodate a lot more persons, and we’re more focused on providing support to children especially those children who do not have the basic necessity to attend school on a regular basis,” Tanner explained to the Government Information Agency (GINA).

This programme is conditional and applicants have to fulfill certain requirements before they receive government’s assistance. For example persons applying with a medical condition, have to provide a medical certificate and proof that they are attending a medical clinic regularly.

However, persons are supported to sustain themselves, and to be able to contribute to the general development of the country. Tanner noted that the persons receiving support must prove that they are making the effort to live a healthy lifestyle, and adhere to the doctor’s instruction.

“We do know that the national coffers are there to ensure that people are healthier and that they’re able to contribute on the economy’s overall development. There are many studies which show that there is a direct correlation between development, poverty alleviation and health so we are focused on that for persons applying for social assistance,” Tanner highlighted.

The social services department also plays a role to ensure that children attend school and clinics regularly.

Tanner pointed out that the different categories of Public Assistance are medical, temporary and economic public assistance. He explained that the medical is for persons with temporary health problems such as an accident that will prevent them from working.

The economic ones are given to persons who have economic problems and cannot sustain their families and the permanent public assistance is for persons with permanent disabilities such as paralysis.

The Social Services Director noted that for the medical and economic category, a review of circumstances is conducted every six months, and for the permanent category, once every year.

This is to ensure that the persons receiving public assistance are still eligible for it.

Meanwhile, the Social Services department’s ‘at risk youths’ programmes which have been implemented in Region Four, Georgetown, East Bank Demerara, and Regions Five and Three are moving apace and will be rolled out in other administrative regions shortly.

The “at risk youths” benefit from training courses, as well as  programmes which focus on remedial behaviour which is aimed at preparing them to become positive adults.

Public Assistance is a temporary support instituted by the government to provide welfare services to low income families.

 

By: Ranetta La Fleur

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