GOVERNMENT has proposed to expand support to the elderly by lowering the starting point for aged welfare payments from 75 years to 70 years effective on July 1st 2014.

The Finance and National Planning Minister, Hon. Dr. ‘Aisake Eke revealed this in Parliament yesterday when the House was discussing the proposed national budget for 2014/2015.

Under the current social benefit scheme for the elderly, those whose age is 75 or above receives TOP$65 stipend a month.

Dr. Eke told the House, this amount is small but Government do wish to ensure a well designed, caring and responsible support for the elderly.

He added this was a common need raised during the parliamentary constituency visit last year.

“This year's Estimates we took into account the welfare of every individual in the society from young to old. It is important when we consider the welfare of our country we take into consideration the welfare of its citizens,” said the Hon. Finance Minister, Dr. Eke.

The Social Welfare Scheme began in September 2012 for Tongan elderly person whose age is 75 years of age or above.

Recipients of the scheme receive TOP$65 on a monthly basis.

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