RNZI: A spokesperson for a Tonga group that cares for families says the extension in the availability of pensions for the elderly is widely welcomed.
This week people from the age of 70 up have been able to receive the TOP65 pa’anga (US$35), monthly payments from the Government’s National Retirement Benefits and Social Welfare Board.
Previously only those aged 75 or older got it.
Ma’a Fafine Moe Famili spokesperson, Betty Blake, says they work with older people who are able to use the money to supplement water, electricity and food costs.
“Even though it is [only] 65 pa’anga, it is worth it. So I think people do appreciate it and I am sure they are very grateful that our Government has the initiative to do that.”
Blake says the lower age limit doubles the number of beneficiaries, making a total of about 4,000.
She says her group would like to see the limit come down further, as the average ages are 67 and 69.