Shut-ins to receive pensions delivered at home.

—MoneyGram, Western Union being considered as alternative venues for payment

There are approximately 59,406 pensioners on the Ministry of Human Services and Social Services roll for payments of pension. On Monday, the subject Minister, Hon. Dr, Vindhya Persaud, disclosed that several measures are being taken to improve the delivery of pensions to senior citizens.

“A number of systems that would have started earlier this year will continue but we are adding on a few more initiatives that would make delivery better and ensure that we have less congestion at the already recognized places of delivery,” Minister Persaud stated during a virtual press briefing today.

She explained that her Ministry is currently working on a direct payment system that will see the monthly stiped being deposited to pensioners’ bank accounts. It is hoped that this measure will encourage seniors to utilise the banking system.

The Minister noted while this measure is a voluntary one (pensioners will be required to sign up for the banking system) they will no longer need to join queues to uplift their pensions.

Importantly, Minister Persaud said a new plan will be rolled out for the new month. “We will be starting home deliveries; direct delivery and payment to 3,400 shut-in pensioners. This means persons who are living with disabilities. So, these are all the shut-ins on our register at the moment.”

The Ministry is working on a phased approach to have other outlets such as Money Gram and Western Union be a part of the disbursement of pensions

“…the Post Office is not the only venue that pensioners will have to go to because we are cognisant that the Post Office may not be convenient, may not be close or maybe a hub for crowding,” the Minister explained.

The plan is to eventually have these venues will be long-term outlets of accessibility for pensioners.

On a regional level, the Ministry of Human Services and Social Security will be partnering with the Local Government Ministry to ensure seniors can access their pension hassle-free.

More sites will pop up and more persons will be out there who can deliver to an already existing regional system. We feel this will be beneficial for people in remote areas. There is a direct payment system that has started in the hinterland, Region Nine in particular. And since this system is working quite well, we plan to increase the number of areas where direct payment will be made.”

Additionally, it was disclosed that the alphabetised payment system will continue allowing pensioners to uplift their stipend earlier than the first of the month.

Minister Persaud added: “There is also something that has been happening for some years whereby is a pensioner does not collect their pension within the first three months, they will have to come to the Ministry for us to verify and it is a long process.  In light of COVID, we are wavering that three-month validity period. So, pensioners who were not able to receive their pensions from as far back as January can now do so without having to come to us for verification.  

The Minister said within the coming months additional measure will be rolled out.