The President celebrated the launch of the initiative with couples from Puente Alto. The scheme will provide a bonus of 250,000 Chilean pesos to couples marking 50 or more years of marriage as of January 1, 2010.
He explained that this benefit formed a part of the government’s social agenda, which should “not get bogged down by Congress discussion, but rather get to where it’s needed – to senior citizens through the Golden Anniversary Bonus and better pensions; to mothers through an extension of postnatal maternity leave from three to six months.”
The President of Chile, Sebastián Piñera, accompanied by his wife, Cecilia Morel, opened the registration and payment process for the Golden Anniversary Bonus at a ceremony this morning in the municipality of Puente Alto. Also in attendance were Treasury Minister, Felipe Larraín, Employment Minister, Evelyn Matthei and Planning Minister, Felipe Kast.
The Golden Anniversary Bonus provides 250,000 Chilean pesos (125,000 for each spouse) in a one-off payment to those couples celebrating 50 or more years of marriage as of January 1, 2010, provided they comply with the other requirements under the law.
After paying tribute to four couples who met the requirements for receiving the benefit, the President said “I very much believe in family, and I feel that we have to support and strengthen it, because family is, after God, the most important thing we have in this world.”
“In our family we find everything that we really need: joy, love, advice and acceptance. When we’re alone, when we’re sad, we always turn to our family; they are always there for us,” he added.
The President said the Golden Anniversary Bonus would benefit 400,000 people in Chile over the next three years, explaining that “this year those celebrating 50, 51, 60 or more years of marriage” can access it. “But in the next three years – and this should be clear – all couples who have celebrated 50 or more years of marriage will receive the bonus.”
He explained that the registration process opened this week. People who wish to apply “can come to any office of the Social Security Institute (Instituto de Previsión Social). They can also telephone 800202500 or visit the website, www.bodasdeoro.cl, and apply online.” He added that after various efforts, the time between applying for and receiving the bonus has been shortened to just four days.
President Piñera said the bonus formed part of the Government’s social agenda, along with the discount of the 7% health contributions for senior citizens, which will be “a great boost for senior citizens’ finances, because it will directly improve pensions,” he said.
Finally, he made an appeal to the members of Congress to prevent “this social agenda – which is so necessary, so good for the soul of our country – from getting bogged down by discussion in Congress, but rather get to where it’s needed: to senior citizens through the Golden Anniversary Bonus and better pensions; to mothers through an extension of postnatal maternity leave from three to six months; and to those 500,000 Chileans who live in poverty. This is a program that will take them from that world of poverty to a world of dignity,” he said.