Tista' taqra bil- Malti.
Two groups of pensioners will receive a senior citizen grant on Saturday, with a total of 46,000 pensioners benefiting from the newly implemented budgetary measure.
The announcement was made on Wednesday morning by the Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Social Affairs, Mark Musu.
In a press conference held at the ministry Mr Musu explained that on Saturday, two annual payments will be made targeting two groups of elderly people: those who have reached pensionable age and those who are over 75 years old.
The first measure targets individuals aged over 75 years old and are still living within the community. This measure will start covering individuals who are currently in a private old people’s home and do not receive any government subsidy for their stay. They will be given €300. While those who are 80 or over, will receive €350.
31,628 individuals will be benefiting from the senior citizen grant. While a total of 16,884 individuals over 75 years will benefit from the €50 increase.
The senior citizen grant was first given in 2012.
Those individuals who paid their social security contributions but did not pay enough to receive a pension will receive a deficiency contribution bonus. The number of individuals set to benefit from this grant are 13,446. 1,197 individuals over 75 years have qualified once again to benefit from this measure.
Addressing the press, Social Affairs Minister Michael Falzon pointed out that 10 social measures out of 26 included in this year’s budget have already implemented. This number excluded measures concerning housing, since this responsibility now falls under a different ministry.
Falzon explained that one should not only focus on the financial aspect of these measures, but should also take into account the efforts being made in keeping those individuals aged over 75 in the community. “Our aim is to continue improving the quality of life for the elderly,” Falzon said. He also mentioned a number of measures taken since 2013 to improve the elderly’s quality of life. These include the decrease in utility bills, the stocking of medicine, the increase in pension, among other measures.
According to Minister Falzon, the elderly now had more disposable income. He mentioned that now more elderly individuals are able to heat their homes.
Parliamentary Secretary for the elderly Silvio Parnis stated that the measures being implemented show that the elderly are truly a priority for the government. He explained that one of the challenges that the government faces is the issue of loneliness among the elderly. Parnis also spoke of the need to take holistic measures targeting the elderly to continue improving their overall quality of life.