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Raise senior citizen's benefit from $200 per month, MLAs say

The $200 per month Senior Citizens Supplementary Benefit should be reviewed for the next fiscal year, several MLAs have insisted.

The last increase came in 2015 when the benefit was raised from $175.

There were 542 seniors age 60 and up who received the benefit in 2018-19, according to Family Services Minister Elisapee Sheutiapik.

"For us MLAs here in the house, we must work harder to provide support to them," Amittuq MLA Joelie Kaernerk said of seniors.
photo courtesy of the Government of Nunavut

"The Department of Family Services has to seriously consider if the new budget for next fiscal year will include the increase in the base rate, and I continue to push for that," said Amittuq MLA Joelie Kaernerk. "I wanted to publicly voice that sentiment, as our elders have to be heard from again as they too are facing personal difficulties, and they have children, grandchildren and in some cases, great-grandchildren. They too face hardships in managing their families, and for us MLAs here in the house, we must work harder to provide support to them."

Cost of living indexes should apply so that elders receive greater amounts in communities where prices are higher, suggested Arviat North-Whale Cove MLA John Main.

Rankin Inlet North-Chesterfield Inlet MLA Cathy Towtongie and Aggu MLA Paul Quassa added their voices in support of improved benefits for seniors.

Sheutiapik reminded her colleagues that seniors also receive Old Age Security and the Guaranteed Income Supplement monthly.

However, she committed to analyze the Senior Citizens Supplementary Benefit.

"Yes, we will look at this and review it and as soon as the review is done we will let you know," Sheutiapik said Wednesday.