Seniors in Trinidad and Tobago to use biometric smart cards to access benefits

January 25, 2013 - 

Seniors in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago will soon be able to use their biometrics to access social benefits, subsequently reducing incidents of fraud and providing a more secure system for the vulnerable.

Minister of the People and Social Development Dr. Glenn Ramadharsingh announced the launch as he said there have been several reports of the elderly being robbed of their pensions, as well as instances where their cheques were lost in the mail. The new system will see benefits deposited directly into recipient bank accounts.

“Senior citizens are easy prey and this social issue must be addressed swiftly and vehemently, Ramadharsingh said. “We as a society must take a proactive approach to the physical and psycho-social abuse senior citizens are faced with on a daily basis.”

More than 40,000 senior citizens in the country are currently using the direct deposit system, which took about 18 months to get off the ground and took effect at the beginning of the year, according to a report in Guardian Media.

Plans for the new biometric card are currently being processed and should be on target by May. The new card will contain fingerprint records to authenticate card holders.

“We do not have a figure [for the cost of the new biometric card] as yet because it is still in the development stage. We have just completed the technical phase and are about to embark on the financial aspect of it. These two phases should be completed by February month end,” Ramadharsingh said.

As reported previously in, the National Database and Registration Authority in Pakistan will also roll out biometric smart cards to streamline pension disbursement and to allow recipients to access their money more efficiently.

A similar system of direct deposit has been adopted in India’s social welfare system, which also includes the direct transfer of pension funds, and uses biometric authentication.

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Adam Vrankulj is an editor for His background consists of online news writing, editing and content marketing. Adam has written for, BlogTO and was the editor and curator for the nextMEDIA and CIX Source publications. He has a degree in journalism and is passionate about science, technology and social innovation. Contact Adam, or follow him at @adamvrankulj