The Destitute and Infirmed Payment is set to increase from $165 a month to $200 a month from 1 July 2016 and the Old Age Pension rate for those aged 70 and over will increase from $650 a month to $660 a month.
The Destitute and Infirmed Payment is a means tested payment targeting working age people, primarily those with high disability needs, who are unable to secure employment. There are approximately 200 people currently receiving this payment.
While the rate is set to increase to $200 a month, the Government has stated an intention to progressively increase the Destitute and Infirmed Payment over time so that there is parity with the Old Age Pension.
The increase to the Destitute and Infirmed Payment was announced as part of the 2016-17 Budget at an additional cost of $92,000 bringing the total cost for the payment to $528,000 in 2016-17.
The increase in the Old Age Pension was originally announced last year and will cost an additional $87,000 bringing the total expected expenditure on the Old Age Pension for those aged 70 and over to $5.8 million in 2016-17. This is in addition to $6.3 million allocated in the 2016-17 Budget for Old Age Pensioners aged from 60 to 69.
Members of the Disability community gathered on 22-23September at the PacINET 2014 conference held at the Pukapuka Hostel.
The workshop was coordinated by Gunela Astbrink who is an international advocate for people with disabilities, especially in relation to their access to and use of the internet. The workshop provided an introduction to policy development and advice on ensuring that people with disabilities get access to appropriate services that enables them to use the internet. The follow-up meeting that have resulted from the workshop will ensure that there will be tablet training for people with disabilities in the outer islands and that there is further development of policies that will address access issues for people with disabilities. Gunela was interviewed by CITV about the workshop and its programme. A copy of the news item is available on request.
The Internet Society was represented at this conference by Maureen Hilyard (Board Chair of the Pacific Islands Chapter) Ellen Strickland (PICISOC Vice Chair), Gunela Astbrink and Holly Raiche (ISOC -Australia) and Ali AlMeshal from the Bahrain Chapter of the Internet Society,
Local attendance at the workshop included members of the Disability Unit of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (Nono, Lani and Iva), Special Needs Advisors from the Ministry of Education, The Cook Islands National Disability Council and members of Te Vaerua and The Creative Centre.
They contributed to the workshop programme of PacINET which is the conference of the Pacific Islands Chapter (PICISOC). The conference itself took place on 24-25 September and was opened by The Minister of Telecommunications, Hon. Mark Brown. Also in attendance was OPM Chief of Staff, Liz Koteka and Cook Islands Internet Action Members – Pua Hunter (ICT Unit), Rex Valoa (BCI), William Tuivaga (SRIC), Mii Nimerota (Policy), Rebekah Daniels and Mathilda Miria-Tairea (MMR), Caroline Tiria (Seabed Mining), Ano Tisam (Statistics), Mana Etches (EMCI), Nathan Tisam (Weather), Harmon Harmon (ICT Unit), Steven Boggs and Maureen Hilyard.
The overseas presenters included (from left); Gunela Astbrink (ISOC-Au, Australia), Michael Alex (Kacific, Singapore), Nurmul Islam Roman (APNIC), Ali AlMeshal (ISOC-Bahrain), Holly Raiche (ISOC-Au, Australia), Peter Dengate-Thrush (New Zealand), Save Vocea (ICANN), Don Hollander (APTLD), Elly Tawhai (APNIC), Ellen Strickland (PICISOC Board, InternetNZ), Graham Hassall (Victoria University, Wellington), Professor Rowena Cullen (Victoria University, Wellington)