GOLDEN CITIZEN PROGRAM
The idea of a Golden Citizens Program was first introduced and discussed by Social Security Management in November 1999. The Program was closely examined and considered in mid-2000.
The Proposal initially aimed to improve the lives of Social Security’s Retirement Pensioners, however, the Board made the decision to work toward helping ALL persons 65 years old and over. The number of persons accessing negotiated benefits will vary from 0 to 13,000 depending on your business type and location(s).
During public consultations, the Board became aware that because of the Social Security Scheme’s young age, a significant segment of Belize’s senior generation was not able to qualify for Social Security Pension. Although, by law, Social Security was not obligated to take care of this group, the Board decided to invest in setting up the Golden Citizens Program throughout Belize.
Because the success of this program depends on the generous participation of businesses, institutions, and persons countrywide, the project description has also changed somewhat from its initial form. The program entails obtaining financial and other benefits; special services and privileges; information on existing programs and activities available; and the re-engendering of respect for Belize’s Golden Citizen.
Social Security is providing the administrative structure for the continued development of the program. We are providing the Gold Card to Golden Citizens, the Gold Decal to participating organizations, the Human Resources and other resources for getting more businesses to join, and the finances for public information. As an institution, our benefit package to the Golden Citizen included: a moratorium in 2001 on the time restriction for retirement benefit claims; that is, late claims for retirement pensions received in 2001, were paid from the time the claimant qualified for his / her benefit. We also give priority customer service to the Golden Citizens at all our offices.
Public information is disseminated annually to inform Golden Citizens of the Program as well as to acknowledge participating businesses. Publicity for the businesses is given in a handbook published annually, on Social Security’s web site, in newspaper ads, and on Posters. Recruitment publicity is done on radio, television and through direct correspondence with local businesses.
It is important that businesses set in place regulations and limitations to some of the benefits (especially financial) that they offer, in order to protect themselves from abuse. We encourage businesses to display the flyers provided near the Gold Decal. It is also very important for the Golden Citizen to realize that the program is in place to help him / her not his or her entire family. The fact that a business may inform the Golden Citizen that they have a limit on the items or amount on which they can get a discount, needs to be respected by the Golden Citizen, since the business’s participation is voluntary and a goodwill gesture. A Golden Citizen should feel free to ask at the beginning and even before shopping at the participating business, what are the rules and limitations to the discounts being offered, so they don’t face a problem with finances by assuming that the discount is limitless.
Golden Citizens will know the participating businesses by the Gold Decal displayed, which reads “This Establishment Honours our Golden Citizens”. A business can recognize a Golden Citizen when that person presents his / her Gold Card.
Businesses or Golden Citizens wanting to know more about the Golden Citizens Program can contact any Social Security office.
“Belize – Honouring Our Golden Citizens”
The Golden Citizens Program is guided by the theme: “Belize – Honouring Our Golden Citizens”
Components of this program are:
BELIZE’S GOLDEN CITIZENS – All people legally resident in Belize who are 65 years or older. Gold Social Security Cards are issued to golden citizens.
Theme of the Program:
“Belize – Honouring our Golden Citizens”
Accessing Mechanism 1: The Gold Card
A Gold Card is issued by Social Security as a form of identification for Golden Citizens. The gold card will enable Golden Citizens to access the discounts and special services offered by participating businesses.
Accessing Mechanism 2: Gold Decals
The design of the decals distinctly ties in the gold card to the program of benefits. The Gold Decals are sent to participating businesses to display in their establishment (together with a listing of limitations – if any); this decal will indicate that a participating business offers them financial benefits, priority service or other benefits. Benefits to be offered depend on what each business would like to and can afford to offer.
Social Security does media advertising, as well as direct mailing to the public to increase awareness of the program. Some of the advertising focuses on acknowledging the businesses that support the program. A Golden Citizens Handbook, which is updated and reprinted annually, lists the Golden Citizens’ Benefit Package and all the businesses participating in the program, their slogans and/or logos, and a description of the way in which they are helping to make life better for our Golden Citizens. Newspaper advertisements update the Golden Citizens about the new businesses joining the program. Radio and Television advertisements create awareness about the program. A poster is also printed, to highlight all participating businesses, up to the date that the poster is sent for printing.
Participating businesses are free to maximize publicity and public information about their organization’s involvement in the Golden Citizens Program.
You are also encouraged to organize additional good will activities for the Golden Citizens from time to time.
Social Security Records show about 13, 000 registered persons that are over 65 years of age.
The number of persons accessing negotiated benefits will vary from 0 to 13,000, because of geographical location, financial status and living conditions (some elderly people live as couples, some live in homes for the elderly, and some do not have their own household).
The number of persons accessing negotiated benefits may vary from 0 to 13, 000.
The Golden Citizens Program officially began on January 1, 2001, with a group of about 45 pioneer organizations. This program is one that challenges us to acknowledge that “they have done their part for us, now it’s time to do our part for them” in reference to our Golden Citizens. It is a challenging and worthwhile program.
Organizations that participate are sure to reap the benefits of increasing customer satisfaction, getting positive recognition from their communities, getting positive publicity through the public information material being sent out by Social Security. Participating in the Golden Citizens Program even has the potential to boost clientele at business establishments involved in the program.
The “Golden Citizens” Program is not an isolated effort by Social Security; its success hinges on the wholesome participation of businesses countrywide. The Program is complementary to and an integral part of the overall reform that has been embarked upon by the Social Security Board. The reform process aims at improving the lives of all Social Security beneficiaries and at contributing substantially to the community at large.
There may be abuse of the Discounts
This is a purely good-will program, so you need to keep your own interests in mind, even while doing well. You are free to set your own rules and limitations and to display them close to the Gold Decal (sticker). For example, if you are a small store, you may want to give a certain percentage of discount (e.g. 20%), only on food items, up to a maximum of a certain amount. Then you may want to keep a register to write the Golden Citizen’s name, Social Security number, Date and Amount of Purchase, so that they are not doing their children’s shopping. If you are a restaurant, you may want to give a discount only on slow days or only on food and soft drinks and not on alcoholic beverages.