Following representations from the Government on behalf of the Gibraltar Private Sector Workers & Pensioners Association, the Charity has given careful consideration to the possibility of providing a further form of assistance to pensioners whose incomes from all sources falls below a given level.
This payment would be in addition to the 'Household Cost Allowance' which has historically been paid by the charity since its inception.
The Trustees have, after consideration of all relevant factors, decided that the fairest yardstick of what the minimum level of income for pensioners should be must be in line with the rate of pay of a working person on the national minimum wage (with a necessary adjustment for the 10% social insurance contribution that employees on the minimum wage have to make and which is not payable by pensioners not in employment).
The amount equivalent to 90% of the national minimum wage will constitute the minimum rate of income that, in the charity's view, a pensioner couple should receive per year. In the case of single persons, the charity considers that 60% of the national minimum wage should be the minimum rate of income that such a person should be in receipt of per year (in keeping with the long established relationship between couples/singles in other payments of this nature).
The charity will therefore be introducing this new, means tested, benefit to ensure that no couple or individual has an income below these levels per year. The new payment will be known as the 'Household Support Supplement' and it will be payable at the end of each quarter based on the national minimum wage level as fixed in August of each year.
The first payment will be for the quarter ending December. Increases will be effected annually hereafter in respect of the payments due for the last quarter each year in line with the increases in the national minimum wage. In simple terms, the payment will, in effect, therefore, consist of the difference between the couple or individual's income from all sources and either 90% or 60% of the annual national minimum wage, respectively.