Sh12,000 for senior citizens after hitch

Nelson Marwa
Social Protection Principal Secretary Nelson Marwa. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Senior citizens aged 70 and above will from Monday receive Sh12,000 each after a six-month hitch.

Social Protection Principal Secretary Nelson Marwa Tuesday said the Sh12.4 billion needed to pay them had been wired to four accredited banks to facilitate the outstanding payment.

Delays in wiring the bi-monthly allowance was linked to late release of the cash from the Treasury and an upgrade of the beneficiaries’ bank accounts to allow their access through biometrics to curb fraud.

“We have alerted the banks to start paying the money to the beneficiaries by Monday,” said Mr Marwa.

The government contracted KCB #ticker:KCB, Equity Bank #ticker:EQTY, Co-operative Bank #ticker:COOP and Post Bank to process the payment for the beneficiaries.

Older persons will receive Sh8.8 billion which will cover the period from September to February. Orphans and the disabled will receive Sh3.3 billion and Sh294 million respectively.

Mr Marwa said payment to the 70 year olds was withheld to allow for other beneficiaries like orphans and the disabled to be provided with banks accounts accessed through biometrics.

The bulk of those above 70 already had biometric-linked bank accounts.

“The 70 years and above beneficiaries registered in 2017 already had bank accounts and were not required to participate in the migration exercise. However… we decided that all beneficiaries will be paid together after migration exercise for harmony purposes,” Mr Marwa said.

The senior citizens are entitled to Sh2,000 per month, which is paid every two months in a lump sum of Sh4,000.

The stipend was introduced last year to ease old age poverty in a country where less than 10 percent of senior citizens have pension.

The Social Protection Department, which is mandated to oversee implementation of the enhanced OPCT programme, made the last payment to beneficiaries in September for the July to August cycle.

With the switch to an account-based model, funds will be sent directly to beneficiaries’ bank accounts as opposed to the old card-based system where banks relied on customer verification documents — mainly ID card and passport — and signatures to confirm their identities.

Beneficiaries are required to register their biometrics such as fingerprints with banks for use in withdrawal.