Persons rejected for public assistance can appeal – Dr Persaud
Persons who applied for permanent disability public assistance and were rejected can appeal the decision through the Poor Law Commission, according to Minister of Human Services and Social Security, Dr Vindhya Persaud.
“For the persons who are rejected, all is not lost. There is the Poor Law Commission. This is another statutory body that now reviews all of the rejected cases…Everyone has the option to appeal,” Dr Persaud explained to the News Room during an interview on Wednesday.
In June 2022, the government made a bold announcement that every Guyanese living with a permanent disability or chronic illness, HIV or Cancer, will be able to access the government’s public assistance. While hundreds have benefited since, many more have complained about being excluded.
On Wednesday, Dr Persaud clarified that abled-bodied persons who fall within these categories may not qualify once they can physically fend for themselves.
“A lot of people, once they have that quality of life, they are able to work, so they may not qualify based on the means testing that happens,” Dr Persaud said.
“However, if they have HIV and they have another illness, like tuberculosis or any other injuries that prevent them from going out there, from working, that they are not in a situation where they are able to physically fend for themselves, they might qualify,” she noted.
According to Dr Persaud, there are three categories under which the government’s public assistance for persons living with permanent disabilities are offered.
“…The economical category and the medical category are temporary categories. As the economic category suggests, you have to be within an economic framework, whether a person has cancer or HIV, any chronic illness, they can be considered either under the economic or the medical,” she explained.
For the economical and temporary categories, an application process is followed and since the programme is temporary, Dr Persaud said persons are required to reapply in six months.
“An application is filled out, it is open to anybody under the sun…That application is taken to anyone of our offices, then that application goes to our local board of guardians…They consider the application….After they would have considered, that person is either approved or rejected,” Dr Persaud told the News Room on Wednesday.
For permanent disability, a medical report establishing the disability is necessary.
“The disability now has to fall within that list of disabilities provided by the National Commission on Disabilities,” she said.
The law prescribed that one person can only receive one form of social assistance from the government. Currently, the total sum of public assistance per month is $16,000.