Government pensioners to get increase come July
Arthur Hall, Senior Staff Reporter
The Cabinet has decided to hike payments to some government pensioners and the travelling allowance to civil servants in two moves that will add millions to the spending plans for the next fiscal year.
Minister with Responsibility for Information Sandrea Falconer yesterday announced that the increased payments to pensioners would take effect on July 1 and would cost the country $555 million annually.
"As you might recall, in 1991 it was agreed that regular annual pension increases should be instituted in an effort to address the plight of pensioners caused by the escalation in the cost of living over the years," Falconer told the weekly Jamaica House media briefing.
"Since that decision, increases have been granted effective July 1, 1991 and on July 1 of each successive year. However, there was a gap as the last increase was granted in July 2009," added Falconer.
She said just under 24,000 of the little more than 27,000 pensioners paid by the Accountant General's Department would benefit from the increase.
The increase will range from a high of $3,000 per month to a low of $1,150 with pensioners at the bottom of the scale receiving the greatest level of increase.
"Those who are eligible for this benefit (are) persons on pension for the last two and a half years, persons 55 years or older, persons who were retired on the grounds of ill health regardless of age and widows, widowers and dependants of persons whose pensions commence prior to July 1, 2011."
In the meantime, Falconer said a 22.5 per cent increase in travelling allowance is to be paid to civil servants who have to travel in the performance of their duties.
The increase will be paid in two tranches, the second on April 1, 2013.
According to Falconer, based on an analysis of the existing rates, it was determined that travelling officers were due an increase.
Pension rate increases
- Pensioners getting under $20,000 per month and will get an annual increase of $36,000 annually ($3,000 monthly).
- Pensioners getting between $20,001 and $39,999 per month and will get an annual increase of $25,200 annually ($2,100 monthly).
- Pensioners getting between $40,000 and $59,999 per month will get an annual increase of $15,600 annually ($1,300 monthly).
- Pensioners getting $60,000-plus per month and will get an annual increase of $13,800 annually ($1,150 monthly).