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Pensions increase not due until next month

A 5 per cent increase in seniors' pensions, which many believe was expected to begin this month, will not take effect until September.

The Ministry of Finance clarified the position today after senior citizens queried why they had not received the cash boost in their pension packets.

In the House of Assembly in June, finance minister Bob Richards noted that the cost of living had increased by 7.9 per cent since August 2011, when the last increase was granted.

“I propose to increase Contributory Pension Fund benefits and contributions by 5 per cent and 7.5 per cent respectively, effective August 2016, when benefits under the plan are traditionally amended,” he added.

“Increases in contributions to the fund were effective August 1, and the increase in pension benefits for seniors will be effective August 16. Benefit increases will first be reflected in the September 15 benefit payments.”

One pensioner, who did not wish to be named, criticised the implementation of the new pension plan.

“When I checked my account online, I was very disappointed to find my pension was unchanged from the previous month,” he said.

“In this economic climate, I'm sure many pensioners had been desperately looking forward to the 5 per cent increase in August.

“Surely we should have been informed the increase wasn't coming through this month, as we were promised in June.”

At present, the maximum benefit is about $1,399.14 per month. Altogether, 12,365 seniors receive benefits.

Update: this story has been amended to clarify that the pension payments, despite increases in contributions to the relevant funds going into effect this month, will not be paid until September 15

Facing criticism: Bob Richards, Minister of Finance (File photograph)

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Published August 17, 2016 at 9:00 am (Updated August 17, 2016 at 6:45 pm)

Pensions increase not due until next month

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