30% PATH Programme Benefits Increase Coming
PATH programme increase of 30% is highly welcome! After months of pressure from the People’s National Party and urgings from the International Monetary Fund, the Government is set to increase benefits under the Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH) by 30 per cent, or $7 billion.
The increase was revealed in the Government’s Fiscal Policy Paper tabled in Parliament yesterday. There has been a call from last year for the Government to increase allocations to the more than 300,000 beneficiaries because of the higher taxes on things such as gas to fund the income tax break.
PATH is designed to assist the most vulnerable and needy in the society.
What is PATH?
The Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH) is a conditional cash transfer (CCT) programme funded by the Government of Jamaica and the World Bank and is aimed at delivering benefits by way of cash grants to the most needy and vulnerable in the society.
PATH was introduced islandwide in 2002. It seeks to rationalize the operations of three (3) then existing income transfer programmes in order to eliminate duplication, reduce administrative costs, streamline the use of resources, and increase the effectiveness of programme delivery to the poor.
How does one qualify?
To qualify, an applicant must satisfy the eligibility criteria of the Programme that he/she is a member of a poor family. This is done through the application of a Proxy Means Test. The applicant is interviewed and an application is completed with the help of Ministry personnel. The applicant is asked to provide personal data pertaining to his/her family, including levels of education attained, and the family’s access to basic social amenities.
On the basis of the information submitted and the application of the electronic Beneficiary Identification System (BIS), families who meet the established criteria are selected. Information provided at the interview is later verified by a home visit, after which qualified applicants are registered to begin receiving payments.