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Vincentians get 25% increase in Public Assistance

Vincentians get 25% increase in Public Assistance

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Recipients of Public Assistance from the Government have been advised to use the money wisely, even though the amount of money is small.{{more}}

This encouragement came from Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of National Mobilization Rosita Snagg, who spoke to Searchlight on Monday, January 17, 2011, about the 25 per cent increase in the amount paid to recipients.

The allowances, which, according to Snagg, last increased in 2008, have been increased in all categories. Foster Children’s allowances have gone from $220 to $275 per month. The Over 65 category increased from $175 to $220 per month, the Regular (Under 65) from $160 to $200 per month and Transportation from $80 to $100. The increase became effective on January 1, 2011.

Snagg said that there were several reasons why the allowances have been increased. Elaborating briefly on one of them, Snagg stated that the money received previously was quite “small,” adding that in some cases, persons use the public assistance for total provision of their needs.

“One of the things that really happens is that a lot of these persons use the money solely for their total provision; they have nothing else.” Snagg said.

She explained that in some cases, persons had said that it saved their light and water utilities from being disconnected.

“$125 is really not much and either at $200 one might argue that it’s not enough, but it’s the best in these economic times,” Snagg said. She further advised that persons utilize the funds only for what they need.

According to Snagg, it costs the Government about $14 million a year to provide public assistance to citizens and about 5,568 persons are currently on the public assistance programme. Most of the recipients on the programme are in the under sixty-five category, Snagg said. Just about 3,000 people are in that category, which covers school children, whether from primary, secondary and post secondary institutions, and disabled children among others.

Giving further advice on how to use the funds given, Snagg stated that persons should be careful not to spend the money on things that are not needed and that the funds which are collected for children should be used as much as possible for the needs of the children. “It must not be used by the mother or father to better themselves,” Snagg said. (OS)

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