Thu | Dec 7, 2023

Letter of the Day | Senior citizen running in circles to get funeral grant

Published:Monday | January 30, 2023 | 12:17 AM


Please allow me to highlight ‘almshouse’ rules in government offices in Clarendon. A senior citizen recently narrated her frustrating encounter at the Ministry of Labour and Social Security office in May Pen, Clarendon.

Her brother, who was a pensioner, died and she went to the May Pen social security office to apply for a funeral grant, to which she is entitled, to cover some of the funeral expenses.

She endured a long wait and eventually got a chance to go into the office.

That office requested for several documents to be carried, both those of her deceased brother, and from her including her birth and marriage certificates.

Another day she took all the documents they had requested. She was told that they cannot accept the copy of the marriage certificate they need the original. She was taken aback, but did not consider the request unreasonable.

At a later date she went with the original certified marriage certificate with the copy she had. The interviewing officer now requested an updated certified version of her married certificate. What more proof she needs to show that she is married, and how many times?

All her documentations presented, except for her birth certificate, bears her married name.

The same material information that is on original 1986 marriage certificate (she was married in 1985) and will not change should she produce any updated version. This, in our opinion, is an unreasonable asinine request.

Worse, she was not given a reason for the request, but was told she has a year to present the new marriage certificate. Because after a year of applying she will no longer be eligible for the funeral grant.

Clearly something is wrong in this case, but who watch out for us. The people who should be looking out for the interests of citizens put in place ‘almshouse’ rules and regulations that they don’t even understand. Or is it that they do not want to amend these rules.