With over 58,000 pensioners benefitting from the Old Age Pension scheme managed by the Ministry of Human Services and Social Security, Dr. Vindhya Vasini Persaud, the subject Minister, has reiterated her commitment to improving the quality of pension delivery and increasing the options for senior citizens to receive their pension.
Against this backdrop, the Ministry will be sensitising pensioners on the hassle-free options available to access their pension.
To kick-start the educational drive, the Ministry will be hosting a weekly LIVE Question and Answer (Q&A) session on the Ministry’s Facebook page every Thursday at 9:00am from April 22, 2021 to respond to all pension related concerns.
The Ministry’s personnel will be guests on a number of radio stations to discuss pension related matters, including the two newer options the Ministry has introduced this year to complement the post office system to allow ease of collecting pension.
Pension vouchers may now be redeemed at any of the Western Union or MoneyGram locations in Regions 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 10, in addition to the post offices countrywide.
“Pension vouchers can be encashed at these locations throughout the month and not only during the first week of the month. They can avoid lines and crowds by using any of the new options as we work to improve pension delivery,” Minister Persaud added.
The introduction of the banking system will facilitate pensions being deposited in pensioners’ accounts within the first five days of each month. No taxes are applied to pension through the banking system. However, pensioners utilising the banking system must deposit their Life Certificates at all the Ministry locations every quarter to continue receiving bank payments. Life Certificates must be signed and stamped by either a Justice of the Peace, Notary Public, Commissioner of Oaths, Medical Practioner, Head Teacher, Minister of Religion or a Manager of a Bank or Branch of a Bank.
The Ministry also provides the direct payment service to pensioners who live in remote communities. Pensioners in over forty remote communities, notably in Regions 1, 7, 8 and 9 already benefit from this service. To optimize this service in view of the logistics, these direct payments will be made every six months.
The direct payment service option is also available to pensioners, who qualify for the Ministry’s SHUT-IN services. Persons who have serious mobility issues, visual impairment or are bedridden will be eligible to have their pension delivered directly to their homes. The Ministry has established a Register to facilitate this option, and once the information provided is verified, direct payment will commence.
To date, the Ministry has facilitated over three thousand, four hundred and fifty-nine (3,459) pensioners via the Shut-In system throughout the ten administrative regions.
To qualify for the pension bank deposits or shut-in delivery systems, pensioners must apply. All pension application approval processes will be within 3 weeks from time of submission of the application form.
Meanwhile, in an effort to simplify and expedite the processes, the Ministry has dedicated special lines to facilitate all clarifications and queries. The numbers are as follows: Banking system 227-0130; new applications/Shut-ins and remote services 623-177, 227-4410 or 225-6565 ext. 2301 and reporting of elderly abuse – 914.
Hon Persaud is therefore making an appeal to the media fraternity to partner with the Ministry in disseminating this important information.
Training is also a crucial element in the delivery of quality service, and according to Minister Persaud the Ministry will continuously train its Probation Officers, who have to interface with the pensioners. Policies will continue to be developed to bolster the efficiency of the pension systems and there will be consistent review.
“The Ministry of Human Services is very people oriented, and as such our staff must be courteous and helpful at all times,” the Minster reiterated.