SR944m given to needy on King Abdullah’s orders

RIYADH: On the instructions of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah, the Ministry of Social Affairs has disbursed SR944 million in social security funds to needy people — mainly widows, orphans and the disabled. The move will help ensure better lives for the needy and help them reintegrate into mainstream Saudi society, said Mohammed bin Ibrahim Al-Awadh, a spokesman for the Ministry of Social Affairs. “The funds have already been deposited into the bank accounts of 719,875 beneficiaries, whose names are there in the ministry’s social security list,” said Al-Awadh, adding that the ministry has also launched several initiatives to boost welfare services and social security programs.

Al-Awadh said the funds were transferred to the accounts of the beneficiaries in the last three days, and that they have been allocated as “pension and assistance” for widows, orphans, the disabled and poor. Recipients can now withdraw the amount from banks or ATMs, he added. The ministry, he said, has been working on several other social projects to provide increased support to the poor and the needy. The new plans will benefit more people as the number of Saudis claiming social welfare rose by 1.31 percent in January. “In fact, the ministry has added 8,891 eligible families to receive social security money this month,” said a report, quoting Minister of Social Affairs Yousef Al-Othaimeen.

The report said the Ministry of Social Affairs is working on a major initiative to set up social protection and social safety departments in Riyadh, Taif, Dammam and Abha for orphans, widows, the elderly and the disabled. Plans are also under way to work together with the National Family Welfare Society to train social workers to engage themselves effectively in welfare activities. This is in addition to about 470 charitable societies and 40 foundations set up by royal decrees in the Kingdom under the supervision of the ministry. Most of the charitable societies and foundations provide a range of fairly traditional welfare services for people in need. The general rule is that each organization should limit its scope of operation to one of the Kingdom’s 13 provinces. The exception to this rule is at times of national emergencies such as floods when working across provincial boundaries is permitted. – Arab News