The Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation is spending more than $105 million a year through various assistance programs for people who are eligible for different types of assistance, however they are also advising people to be mindful of those people are trying to get multiple forms of assistance during the COVID-19 period.
The Director of Social Welfare, Rupeni Fatiaki says 25,467 families are being assisted under the Poverty Benefit Scheme. $36 million has been allocated for this. The scheme is a temporary allowance to destitute families to supplement income. The families get between $35 to $127 per month.
The Social Welfare Department confirms that 8,183 people are getting assistance under the Care and Protection Scheme. These people get monthly cash grants of $29 to $127 and it is provided towards supporting disadvantaged children. It is for single mothers or fathers, deserted spouses, widows, prisoner’s dependent, guardians of foster parents and children in residential care. $8 million is allocated for this scheme.
All those receiving the state welfare assistance in the Poverty Benefit and Care and Protection schemes are also getting $50 food vouchers for approved basic food items.
45,954 senior citizens who are 65 years and above with no source of income are being assisted under the Social Pension Scheme. $46 million is allocated for the assistance for the senior citizens.
2,142 rural pregnant mothers are also getting $50 food vouchers under the Expanded Food Voucher Program. $900,000 has been allocated for this.
52,640 people are being assisted under the Bus Fare Concession Program where senior citizens aged 60 years and above and disabled persons receive a $40 top up per month. The top up per month is currently $20 due to COVID-19. $10 million is allocated for this. Fatiaki says they have started receiving cases of people who have lost their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic. He says they are also concerned as some people seem to be double dipping due to lack of coordination by organisations providing assistance packages. This would mean that those in genuine need could also be missing out.
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