Welfare benefits will be deposited directly into recipients’ bank accounts from July | Page 2 | Sunday Observer

Welfare benefits will be deposited directly into recipients’ bank accounts from July

24 May, 2023

The Welfare Benefits Board has taken significant measures to address the challenges faced by welfare beneficiaries in receiving their allowances. Effective from July, the Board has   implemented a direct crediting system, ensuring that beneficiaries’ bank accounts are directly credited with the necessary welfare benefits.

This encompasses the correction of any previous errors in social welfare benefits and the continuation of existing Government assistance programmes such as Samurdhi and Elderly Assistance. These actions were carried out under the guidance of President Ranil Wickremesinghe.

To further assist those without bank accounts, the Welfare Benefit Board, led by Chairman B. Wijayaratne, has taken the necessary steps to facilitate the opening of bank accounts for beneficiaries who currently lack one.

Wijayaratne expressed these details during his participation in the ‘Katha’ programme produced by the Presidential Media Division.

The Aswesuma welfare benefit programme, initiated by the President as part of the social safety net to alleviate the ongoing economic crisis, is being overseen by Finance State Minister Shehan Semasinghe, with involvement from various Government agencies, including the Ministry of Finance.

Through this programme, financial assistance will be provided to the lower-income group, comprising 40% of society, across four categories. The Government aims to offer Rs.15,000 per month to families falling under the extremely poor category.

Addressing a question raised during the ‘101 Katha’ programme, the Chairman of the Welfare Benefit Board emphasized that the selection of the Aswesuma beneficiaries is carried out through a centralised data base, ensuring that political affiliations do not influence the assistance provided.

He further noted that with the implementation of the ‘Aswesuma’ welfare benefit program starting in July, there is a possibility that individuals who have been receiving benefits such as Samurdhi may lose them.

This could be due to factors such as having a stable income or not applying for the ‘Aswesuma’ welfare benefits.

The Chairman of the Welfare Benefits Board emphasized that individuals who believe they should be eligible for benefits but are not included in the initial list can submit their appeals.

As soon as the list of eligible recipients is published, they can either file an appeal or submit applications during the second phase, commencing after July. The Chairman acknowledged allegations that some financially vulnerable individuals were overlooked in the existing welfare benefit programs and that certain beneficiaries, including Samurdhi recipients, were included based on political influence.

In response to these concerns and with the intention of addressing the allegations and providing support to those in need, President Ranil Wickremesinghe intervened and initiated the ‘Aswesuma’ welfare benefit scheme. Starting from August, the Welfare Benefit Board invited applications, receiving submissions from over 3.7 million people. Data regarding income and expenses were collected through the ‘Aswesuma’ mobile app, with additional verification conducted by a dedicated committee at the Divisional Secretariat level.

The finalized list of eligible individuals for the ‘Aswesuma’ welfare benefits will be made available at each Grama Niladhari office and on the Welfare Benefits Board’s official website (https://www.wbb.gov.lk/).

If an applicant’s name is not included in the list or if there is someone included who is deemed ineligible for assistance, individuals have the option to file an appeal. The scheme aims to ensure that no deserving individual is left behind, emphasising inclusivity and fairness.

Additionally, for those unable to submit applications during the initial phase, there will be an opportunity to do so during the second phase, after July. Further details regarding this will be communicated through newspapers and media channels.