The poverty of old age is a very serious condition in Belize and many older persons still find it difficult to meet their basic needs on a daily basis. The United National indicates that if a person exists on less than $1.00 US per day then they are living in poverty. As a young developing country there has been little provision in Belize to provide financial benefits to older persons. The Belize Social Security Board was formed in 1981 whereby all persons employed could pay into the Social Security system and receive sickness and retirement benefits. Unfortunately those persons who were already reaching older age did not qualify because they did not pay into the contributory system and therefore were not entitled to any allowances when they reached an age where they could no longer work and support themselves. Country Poverty Assessment Page 74…
CPA Summary findings – In an effort to compensate these persons the Ministry of Human Development, Social Transformation and Poverty Alleviation introduced the BOOST programme in 2011.
In 2003 the Government of Belize introduced the Non–Contributory Pension (NCP) for women aged 65 years and above and all those who qualified received a benefit of $75.00 BZ per month. In December 2007 this benefit was increased to $100.00 and in January 2008, men 67 years and above were included in this scheme.
The NCP has certainly made it possible for the poorest older men and women in Belize to meet some basic needs to food and medication, although the cost of utilities is still beyond the reach of many.
Millennium Development Goals – Belize made an agreement in 2000, together with most countries of the world to work towards the reduction of poverty by upholding the 8 Millennium Development Goals by the year 2015.
The majority of the Goals address issues that specifically target women and children and do not adequately address the issues of the poverty of old age. However, through the Ministry of Economic Development, Belize has produced the National Poverty Elimination Strategy & Action Plan