Govt announces $28K one-off cash grant for old-age pensioners

– additional $1.8B in disposable income for beneficiaries

The People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Government on Thursday announced a one-off cash grant of $28,000 for all old age pensioners across Guyana – a move aimed at assisting senior citizens to have a better quality of life.
During a live broadcast to the nation, President Dr Irfaan Ali pointed out that since taking office in August 2020, his Administration has ensured that the lives of all Guyanese are improved with a focus on vulnerable groups, especially senior citizens.

Pensioners during last year’s cash grant distribution

“In keeping with this emphasis of improving not only the pension but the conditions through which our pensioners enjoy their benefit, I am pleased this evening to announce the payment of an additional one-off grant of $28,000 to be paid to each and every single old-age pensioner before the end of 2022. This new announcement of this one-off grant in 2022 will provide an additional $1.8 billion in disposable income to our pensioners,” the Head of State noted.
According to President Ali, this new cash grant comes in light of the fact that the Government recognised that senior citizens have served the country and the society in which they live for decades, thus they all deserve a dignified enjoyment now of their silver years.
“To our senior citizens, I wish to say that the Government will continue to respect and honour the service you have given to our country over the years as we continue to take all the steps necessary to ensure that the quality of life you enjoy, continue to improve in every regard… And I hope that this additional benefit that the Government has announced will go a far way in helping you,” the President stated.
This is not the first time the Ali-led PPP/C Administration would be distributed a cash grant to pensioners.
In fact, last year, a one-off grant of $25,000 was paid to all old-age pensioners across the country. That initiative alone placed an additional $1.6 billion in the hands of pensioners.
This is in addition to the annual increases of the old age pension, he pointed out.
Upon assuming office in 2020, the PPP/C Government raised the old age pension from $20,500 to 25,000 in 2021 and from 25,000 to 28,000 in 2022.
“Cumulatively, this is amongst the more than 36 per cent increase granted in two years and places a total of approximately $22 billion in the hands of our old-age pensioners annually. So, last year, in addition to the increases in the pension, the one-off grant placed an additional $1.6 billion in the hands of our old-age pensioners,” the President stressed.
Moreover, he noted that his Administration has also been trying to make it easier for pensioners to access their entitlements by providing alternative payment venues as well as by direct delivery and payment to shut-in pensioners, including persons who are living with disabilities and persons who do not have easy access to the post office.
“Alternative payment venues and options were introduced [for these groups],” the Guyanese Leader said.
Beyond these measures, he further highlighted that the Government also reintroduced the water subsidy to old-age pensioners which has benefited over 27,400 of them, providing additional disposable income of $200 million per annum.
In addition, to these special measures, President Ali stated that senior citizens in Guyana also continue to benefit from the across-the-board investments that his Government was making in various areas including improving the public healthcare system. Already, a number of new first-class hospitals and regional health centres, and the improvement and increased the availability of drugs were being undertaken.
Dr Ali added too that several new hospitals have also been approved for construction.
In Budget 2022, Senior Minister with responsibility for Finance, Dr Ashni Singh had announced back in March that senior citizens remained a valuable institutional resource to Guyana’s society and must be afforded the opportunity for a good quality of life – safe, secure, good-quality health care and opportunities for social engagements.
To this end, he committed that the PPP/C would continue to take active steps to support this category of citizens. In fact, it was noted that as the COVID-19 pandemic evolves, access to vaccines and booster shots for senior citizens is prioritised.
“…In 2022, our Government will keep its promise of further improving disposable incomes of senior citizens,” the Finance Minister said back in January.
Dr Singh further stated that apart from giving greater support to care homes, the wellness of senior citizens across the country will benefit from major improvements in health care and related infrastructure; improved transport networks and expanded food security programmes across the country.
Meanwhile, only Saturday last, the Human Services and Social Security Ministry launched “The Century Club – Extra care for 100 years and beyond” in commemoration of the Month of the Elderly, which is celebrated in October each year.
This is a club which honours citizens who have made it to 100 years and even exceeded 100 years.
The programme aims to bring ease and comfort to Guyana’s longest-serving citizens by providing care packages, groceries, health check-ups, vitamins, glucose testing machines, and other services. These items will be procured directly through the Ministry and through collaboration with various businesses, organisations, and entities.
The Human Services Ministry said it has been constantly working on ways to improve the lives of senior citizens across the country.
During this month, the Ministry will be planning a number of activities to engage and involve senior citizens that can impact their mental health well-being and overall wellness.