Burden of welfare support falls on families: Tabuya

July 9, 2024 12:33 pm

The responsibility for financially supporting social welfare recipients lies primarily with families, not the government.

Minister for Women, Children, and Social Protection Lynda Tabuya emphasized this while responding to criticism from the Opposition and civil society organizations about inadequate social welfare allowances amid rising living costs.

Tabuya clarifies that the government’s role is to supplement family support, particularly by recognizing the contributions of older citizens and providing aid to the most vulnerable, including the poor, children, and people with disabilities.

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She states that additional support is provided on a case-by-case basis for those abandoned by their families.

“Government merely supplements this responsibility in recognition of the service of our older persons that have given to Fiji and supplementary support for our most vulnerable which are our poor, children and disabled.”

Highlighting recent government efforts, Tabuya points out that the current administration has prioritized increasing support services for the vulnerable, with budget increases for social welfare recipients not seen for years under previous governments.

Key changes in the 2024–2025 budget include the renaming of the bus fare assistance scheme to the transport assistance scheme.

This program, which supports around 48,000 beneficiaries, will receive $13.4 million to cover travel costs for older persons over 70 and people with disabilities.

Starting August 1, 2024, beneficiaries will receive $25 a month in cash for transport assistance instead of bus fare support.

Overall, the government has allocated $200 million to the Ministry of Women, Children, and Social Protection for the 2024–2025 budget.

This funding will support approximately 104,000 beneficiaries through various schemes, including the Family Assistance Scheme, Social Pension Scheme, Care Protection Allowance, Disability Allowance, Rural Pregnant Mother Food Allowance, and Transport Assistance Scheme.