Yesterday (March 16), Premier David Burt and the Minister of Social Development and Seniors, the Hon. Tinee Furbert had an engaging discussion with members of Age Concern, as part of Government’s continued 2023/24 Budget outreach.
Thursday’s meeting focused on matters specific to seniors, and several topics were covered, including the cost of living, pensions, health care, environmental protection, health insurance, digital literacy and other items of interest.
In addressing the seniors, Premier Burt said, “I am grateful to be here with the Minister for Social Development and Seniors, whose work and that of her team is a testament to this Government’s commitment to ensuring that our seniors can continue to live lives of dignity. Your Government is here to support you.”
The Premier listed a number of significant Government initiatives that have been enacted to aid seniors, including:
- Increased pensions at or above the rate of inflation in 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2021.
- Amended the Residential Care Homes and Nursing Homes Act to provide for better standards in our care homes. Enacted a Charter of Rights and Responsibilities for seniors.
- Expanded the home health and seniors care benefit under FutureCare & HIP to provide additional income to families while reducing costs to our healthcare system.
- Increased FutureCare prescription drug benefit from $2,000 to $3,000 a year and introduced a prescription drug benefit under HIP for the first time.
- Introduced a National Drug Formulary to set maximum prices for common medications and to reduce costs to consumers.
- Established the Ageing Well Committee to drive forward policies and laws that will ensure that the issues of our seniors are always front and centre; and
- Introduced interest-free home improvement loans of up to $15,000 for families who need help modifying their home or that of their senior loved one.
Premier Burt also added, “The Government is acutely aware that there is still more work to be done, and that we must continue to provide support to you, our valued seniors, as the global economy contends with record inflation. In the 2023/24 Budget we have announced new measures such as increased social insurance benefits, increased funding for care homes, and further investments to improve the quality of life for you and for all Bermudians.”
Minister Furbert continued, “It was gratifying to spend some time discussing critical matters with our seniors. We heard their concerns, and we recognize that it’s important to be sensitive to their needs. We are eager to ensure that we provide as much support and guidance as possible for our seniors who are trying to navigate through some challenging times. Our Ministry’s budget has increased by 8%, and the funding covers support for Ageing and Disability Services. Additionally, we will continue financial support of the following Third Sector Organizations, such as Age Concern. I wish to extend my sincere thanks to the leadership and members of Age Concern for taking the time to welcome the Premier and myself today. It was a good dialogue and I hope we have an opportunity to do it again soon.”
To learn more about the 2023/24 Budget visit www.gov.bm/budget.
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