House: Financial Assistance figures

Caseloads at the Department of Financial Assistance are holding “steady”, with more than 200 clients per member of staff, according to Kim Wilson, the Minister of Health.

The department has 33 staff in total budgeted to support more than 3,200 people, Ms Wilson told the House of Assembly on Monday.

Clients comprise 1,180 pensioners and seniors, 900 disabled persons, 201 able-bodied unemployed, 360 people with low income, and about 610 on the child daycare allowance.

Ms Wilson said the department had $820,000 budgeted for five helping agencies such as the Salvation Army and Meals on Wheels.

There was $11.5 million set aside for health insurance assistance, $5.2 million for food expenses, $2.1 million to assist with medication, and $1 million for electricity costs.

Ms Wilson said that a review had begun to review the organisational structure and operation of the department “to determine the optimal design or framework to meet current and projected client demand”.

Ms Wilson added: “This was the first recommendation accepted for the 2018 reform group report.”

She said that there were 38 cases of alleged abuse during the last fiscal year.

Ms Wilson added that a total of $197,018 had still been owed at the beginning of the year.

She said: “The investigative officers were successful in recouping $29,729, leaving an outstanding amount of $167,288 owing to the department.

“The department is working closely with the Attorney-General’s Office to consider all options to obtain these funds.”