Senior citizens aged above 70 and on State pension will wait longer to know whether they qualify to benefit from the government-sponsored bi-monthly stipend of Sh4,000, senior government officials have indicated.
Disbursement details of the stipend, considered a non-contributory social pension for the elderly, are yet to be finalised, making it difficult to tell whether the pensioners will be on board.
“Whether the senior citizens already on State pension qualify for the bi-monthly cash transfer is a policy decision and is yet to be determined,” Evelyn Mwangi, senior ICT officer at the Social Protection Secretariat in the Ministry of Labour, said.
The ministry is using an e-registry with data on all categories of beneficiaries under the National Safety Net Programme (NSNP), popularly referred to as Inua Jamii.
Persons with severe disabilities, orphans and vulnerable children make the list of qualified beneficiaries.
The first round of the programme, targeting age-related poverty, is expected to start in March and will comprise monthly disbursements for January and February.
The single registry, which acts as a data warehouse, is linked to the integrated population registration system and is yet to capture the full spectrum of data for the on-pension 70-year-olds .
So far, 523,129 senior citizens over 70 years have been registered to receive the March stipend following a countrywide drive from June to August last year.
The ministry is expected to communicate the final list of senior citizens who will benefit from the programme.
Once out, the list will be filtered and beneficiaries enrolled into the programme before the first payment.
The Treasury allocated Sh6.7 billion to kick-start the scheme in the first half of the year to June.
During the January-February payment cycle, the government planned to use approximately Sh2 billion on the programme, which is an enhancement of the previous cash transfer channel that was initiated in 2012 targeting those aged above 65 and living in extreme poverty.