Elderly in Kabale want age for social grant lowered

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Elderly in Kabale want age for social grant lowered
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A section of elderly persons in Kyanamira Subcounty in Kabale District have appealed to government to consider reducing the eligibility age for Social Assistance Grant for Empowerment (SAGE) beneficiaries to at least 60 years.

The elderly persons say the current minimum age of 80 has left out a big number of vulnerable elderly persons.

They expressed the need while at Nyakijumba and at Nyamwerambiko Primary School during a meeting convened by Ndorwa East MP Wilfred Niwagaba to find out challenges affecting them in the community.

The government rolled out the scheme across the country and raised the minimum age to 80 years.

Each of the qualified older people has been getting a monthly payment of Shs25,000.

But there have been several appeals in the recent past with the elderly asking the government to review both the stipend and the age cap.

In March, older persons in Kagadi District appealed for their monthly stipend to be doubled from the current Shs25,000 per person.

The beneficiaries said the economy has changed so much over the years, leaving the Shs25,000 too meagre to support their needs.

Gerald Twinomujuni, a resident of Kyaterekera, said the age limit for beneficiaries should be lowered to 60 years instead of 80, claiming that at 80 many are almost dying.

''At 60, at least we can use that money to improve our lives but also at 80, picking that money from the sub-county is tiresome," Twinomujuni said.

And in Kabale on Monday, David Baribeita, 70, who is the Bwato Village LC1 Chairperson in Nyabushabi Parish, said the government should consider reducing the age to at least 60 years, arguing that persons above this age are very few.

He said that in his village alone, he had two beneficiaries of SAGE money; and after one died, he is now left with only one.

“Me I want to request government reduce the age of the beneficiaries from 80 years to 60 because we have very few people who are 80 years," he siad.

Adellah Kentwiga, a 78-year-old resident of Nyakahita Cell in Katookye Parish, and 74-year-old John Turyamureeba from Rwesaziro Cell in Katookye Village, say that at their age, the government should at least consider them since people aged 80 years above are very few.

They also say that it’s unfair for the constitution to describe an old person like that who has clocked 60 years, but when it comes to such a programmes, the government considers those above this age.

“Our request to government is that they should start considering even us who are between 70 years to 79 years because those who are 80 years are very few. We feel that the constitution is not fair to some of us," they said.

In response, MP Niwagaba noted that people above 60 years up to 79 years can apply for the programme of special enterprises for older persons in the respective subcounties, where a group of five people is eligible to get Shs5 million with no interests, which can help them to start up small scale businesses like keeping animals or growing vegetables.

“People above 60 years up to 79 are also among beneficiaries of government programs since they ca apply for special enterprises in their respective sub-counties. I think once they register and benefit, it can help them in starting up small businesses," Niwagaba said.

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