Bermuda’s seniors will see an increase in their pensions next month after MPs supported the increase of 1.4 percent on Friday.

Finance Minister Curtis Dickinson submitted the Contributory Pensions (Amendments of Benefits) Order 2018, amid claims by Opposition MPs that the rate increase was “embarrassing”.

“This is a reflection of Government’s resolute and unwavering commitment to improve the quality of life of our senior citizens,” he said.

“You will recall in the Government’s 2017 election platform it was declared that this Government would put our seniors first and institute annual cost of living increases for social insurance pensions that will be linked to the rate of inflation and can help lessen the hardships that too many of our seniors now endure.”

The Order, which increases pensions and other benefits  by 1.4 percent will be backdated to last August, which represents an additional cost of $2.3 million a year for the fund.

The basic contributory pension would rise from $1,049.68 to $1,064.37 a month, with the maximum pay out increasing from  $1,531 to $1,545.62 a month.

The Minister also noted that this will be the 12th pension increase by Progressive Labour Party governments since 1998.

 “Contributions were last increased in August 2018 by 4.2 percent,” said Mr Dickerson.

“Considering the relatively strong position of the fund, it is anticipated that the fund can withstand the one-year delay in contribution increases.

“However, it is critical that the increased contributions come into force in August 2019.”

As of September 30, the fund’s assets stood at more than $1.9 billion, which was 11.7 times the annual value of benefits paid in 2017-18.