Uganda’s State Minister for the Elderly and Disabled, Sarah Kanyike, has said the government is reviewing the 80-years cut-off age for beneficiaries of the Senior Citizens Grant programme to at least 60 years to accommodate more older persons.
The Social Assistance Grants for Empowerment (SAGE) scheme is a social welfare programme whose pilot was launched in 2010.
A monthly stipend of Shs25,000 is given with the intention to benefit the elderly, who lack stable sources of income, family support structures and live below the poverty line.
Previously, 65-year-olds and above in 57 selected districts were receiving the funds monthly, however, effective July 1 last year, it was raised to 80 years to enable the programme roll out to all districts.
“The issue of cut-off age of 80 years is being looked into by government and at an appropriate time, government will come back with a solution,” Ms Kanyike said.
Ms Kanyike said the current cut-off age of 80 years for SAGE beneficiaries leaves out a huge population of the vulnerable elderly.
She was last week on a field visit to Kayunga District to witness the implementation of the SAGE programme.
Ms Kanyike also interacted with SAGE beneficiaries who were receiving their Shs100,000 for the past four months at Seeta Primary School in Kangulumira Sub-County.
Kayunga District is one of the districts where the programme started.
Ms Kanyike said the senior citizens grant has been impactful on the lives of the beneficiaries.
She added: “This is evident in areas of access to services such as education and healthcare, food and nutrition as well as production.”
At Seeta Primary School, many of the SAGE beneficiaries confessed that the programme had changed their lives with two of them saying they have been able to build houses for themselves.
The minister, who commended the district for the successful implementation of the programme, said currently 304,155 older persons (179,750 females and 124,805 males) are benefiting from the grant countrywide.
In Kayunga District alone, a total of 2,816 are beneficiaries.