Column: Easing The Burdens Of Seniors

July 8, 2022 | 2 Comments

[Opinion column written by PLP MP Ianthia Simmons-Wade]

Throughout our time in office, the Bermuda Progressive Labour Party has repeatedly demonstrated our commitment to our seniors and relieving their burdens whenever possible, in their golden years.

Since taking office in 2017, we have kept our promise to increase the prescription drug benefit under Future Care resulting in fewer seniors being forced to choose between paying for food and medicine. The PLP government expanded seniors’ care benefits under Future Care to provide them with a broader range of healthcare options.

We have honoured our promise to build more affordable housing for our seniors so that more can be housed in dignity and comfort while paying less in rental fees.

The Minister of Health continues to work on Health Care Reform, which will provide affordable and accessible quality health care for all.

We also acted on our promise to introduce a Charter of Rights and Responsibilities for seniors ensuring that Bermuda keeps pace with global standards on how we care for and protect our seniors

Continuing in that vein, we are pleased to announce the keeping of another promise to our seniors. In our 2017 Election Manifesto, we pledged to introduce an annual cost of living increase for social insurance pensions at the rate of inflation. Last Friday in Parliament, our Premier tabled the Contributory Pensions [Amendment of Benefits] Order 2022 to increase pensions and other benefits under the Contributory Pensions Act 1970 by 2.75%.

This increase will be backdated to August 16, 2021, as changes to benefits and contributions are made during that month. For those concerned about the impact this would have on the fund, our Government Actuary reports that in the long term, the increase in benefits for our seniors would represent a negligible impact on the overall status of the fund.

This cost-of-living increase will raise the basic contributory pension from $1,077.14 to $1,106.75 per month and the maximum contributory pension from $1,564.18 to $1,607.19 per month. The backdating of these payments will result in the 10,000 residents on social insurance benefits receiving a lump sum payment of up to $473.11!

We have all seen prices increase at the grocery store as a direct result of conditions increasing inflation worldwide. Given the importance of proper diets to the health and overall well-being of our seniors, the Ministry of Finance determined this latest increase should not only fully cover the overall rate of inflation but also help to provide some relief to our seniors on limited incomes due to the rise in food prices.

The mandatory retirement age for civil servants was raised to 68 which has enabled persons who wanted to continue to work to do so.

Bermudians should take comfort in knowing that we are a government that is not only committed to our seniors and keeps its promises, but we are also a government that listens. On the doorstep and in our community, you have told us that you want a Bermuda that respects and protects our seniors – where those who make the least have some of their financial pressures lifted.

Globally, we are in unpredictable, uncertain, and dangerous times and Bermuda is not immune to the worsening conditions around the world. Despite this, Bermudians are fortunate to have a government committed to fiscal responsibility with a social conscience. Your Government will use every tool at their disposal to relieve pressure on our people wherever and whenever we can.

“It was once said that the moral test of a government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; and those who are in the shadows of life, the sick, the needy and handicapped. ” Hubert H. Humphrey

- Ianthia Simmons-Wade, Constituency 25 – Warwick North East

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  1. unknown800k says:

    I think under this admin everyone is feeling pressure not just the seniors.
    Elaborate on that. oh and the debt if you like

  2. DONALD CAVE says:

    AFFORDABLE HOUSING

    let me cut to the chase about the myth about affordable housing.

    The Bermuda Housing Corporation where I was employed for many years reduced the finders fees on mortgages from the bank standard of 2% to 1% which in turn negatively impactacted income , from that of other doing the same work .

    All Building projects were under strict and orderly building and size control, no changes permitted i all in accordanve with Standard Bermuda construction. at $88.00 per sq ft.

    To be blunt, the reduced finders fee went to pay for term lifer insurance for the principal wage earner, no family saving there.

    There was no other reductions to construction affordability except business gave extended 30 day credit to contractors .

    There was no reduction in the cost of building materials as retailers had businesses to run.

    However, some contractors imported materials from Florida import duty on building materials was not reduced unless you are fixing up a hotel .

    How could we expect plumbers carpenters and electricians to work for less as the have families to feed.

    The public debt sky rocketed up wards that being spread over a long period of time that is untill retirement age.

    Lawyers did not prepare mortgage for a pennies on the dollar.

    For a short period on time the building boom saw for about 20 or so years a boost in the economy at the cost as all the vacant land which quickly disappeared. Bermuda is now overbuilt .

    Sort of too much too soon as there is virtually no buildable land left, that shortage increased the cost of ,if any ,remaining land.
    To day most, if not all ,those construction companies are no more they have , gone, or gone under because we joined into another world recession during that time.

    Sweat Equity is only one way which was not approved one could save on building costs .

    The other is labor costs if the unions approve of it.

    On the up side
    All building were completed on time.
    All building were completed on budget , no cost over runs.
    Taxi divers had work during the slow tourist season.

    May I take my hat off to Bermuda construction workers.

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