MHA em­pha­sizes ben­e­fit of new se­niors’ fund

The Compass - - EDITORIAL -

New­found­land and Labrador’s se­niors are mem­bers of a gen­er­a­tion that built our prov­ince, and saw us steadily through some of our most chal­leng­ing times.

Through their hard work, their pi­o­neer spirit, and their un­wa­ver­ing sense of com­mu­nity, we now have the beau­ti­ful prov­ince we call home. This be­ing the case, we owe our se­niors a great deal of grat­i­tude.

Our gov­ern­ment shares this value. Though New­found­land and Labrador again faces a chal­leng­ing time, with many in­di­vid­u­als be­ing asked to share in the dif­fi­cult fi­nan­cial mea­sures these times have de­manded, we be­lieve low­in­come se­niors de­serve a break. For this rea­son, a key ini­tia­tive in Bud­get 2016 was the cre­ation of an En­hanced Se­niors’ Ben­e­fit. This was part of $76.4 mil­lion in fund­ing al­lo­cated to pro­tect vul­ner­a­ble mem­bers of New­found­land and Labrador’s com­mu­ni­ties.

On Oct. 5, el­i­gi­ble se­niors in our prov­ince will re­ceive the first in­stall­ments of the New­found­land and Labrador Se­niors’ Ben­e­fit. Se­niors whose net in­comes meet the el­i­gi­bil­ity thresh­old will re­ceive a lump sum con­sist­ing of two se­niors’ ben­e­fit pay­ments.

This pay­ment will cover the pe­riod from July to De­cem­ber. Go­ing for­ward, el­i­gi­ble se­niors will re­ceive one pay­ment per quar­ter, dis­trib­uted in the same pay­ment as the quar­terly GST re­bate.

Rec­og­niz­ing that fi­nan­cial mat­ters can be com­plex and con­fus­ing, we have made the process as sim- ple as pos­si­ble. Any se­nior who has filed a tax re­turn for 2015 will be as­sessed for el­i­gi­bil­ity. Those who are el­i­gi­ble will be au­to­mat­i­cally is­sued se­niors’ ben­e­fit pay­ments, with no ef­fort on their part be­yond cash­ing the cheque that will be mailed to them on Oct. 5.

Though we are re­quired to con­front some dif­fi­cult truths about New­found­land and Labrador’s fi­nan­cial po­si­tion, we rec­og­nize that we have an obli­ga­tion to pro­tect our low-in­come se­niors.

The New­found­land and Labrador Se­niors’ Ben­e­fit pay­ments, which will be dis­trib­uted on Oct. 5, are proof pos­i­tive of our in­ten­tion to do just that.

Betty Pars­ley is the MHA for Har­bour Main

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