Friday, August 18, 2017

Elderly pension payments to continue at reduced rate

The government is set to continue a social pension plan for the elderly in the next financial year, with monthly payments allotted to senior citizens 90-years-old and up. But the payments have decreased from the K18,000 awarded in 2016, to a planned K10,000 per month through 2018, according to U Win Myat Aye, Union Minister for Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement.

Minister for Social Welfare U Win Myat Aye speaks about the social protection program at a meeting yesterday. Photo: Pyae Thet Phyo / The Myanmar TimesMinister for Social Welfare U Win Myat Aye speaks about the social protection program at a meeting yesterday. Photo: Pyae Thet Phyo / The Myanmar Times

He said yesterday that the payments are enshrined in the Myanmar Elders Law, which was passed last year. The law says that the pension is to be awarded to all citizens over the age of 60, but U Win Myatt Aye said the government currently lacks a budget to fully implement the plan.

“The old-age pension will eventually be given out in accordance with the ages prescribed in the law. For now, the pension will be given to people 90-years-old and above. The current arrangement will see them receive K10,000 per month for the duration of the coming fiscal year,” he said.

When the ministry began the pension program for nonagenarians and centenarians in 2016, it estimated payments would be needed for 33,373 people across the country, requiring a total annual budget of K420.714 million, at the monthly rate of K18,000.

The social pension is the first government-sponsored cash transfer program for the elderly.

U Win Myatt Aye said the ministry is still compiling information to establish the number of people who will receive the cash transfers in the next fiscal year.

“We will calculate the number of people above 90-years-old throughout the country, as well as how 100-year-olds and above. Then, if we can afford to supply more people, we will consider moving the age cut off to include people in their 80s,” he said.  

He added that eventually the government hopes to see the financial benefit rolled out to all eligible beneficiaries 60-years-old and up.

“Since the [Elders] law was approved, we have been working to implement it. We also need by-laws. Then we need policies that support the law. We are carrying out all of these steps one at a time,” he said.


Translation by San Layy and Emoon