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The House of Representatives has approved amendments to the National Insurance Act, resulting in increased benefits to contributors.

In piloting the Bill in the House on December 11, Minister of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Derrick Kellier, said that the proposed changes are based on a recent actuarial review of the National Insurance Scheme (NIS).

“The amendments will ensure the long term sustainability of the National Insurance Fund, while continuing to provide meaningful benefits to pensioners and contributors,” Mr. Kellier said.

The amendments will result in the insurable wage contribution increasing from $1 million to $1.5 million per annum with effect from January 7, 2013.

There will also be an increase in the weekly contributions for domestic workers, self-employed and voluntary contributors. This will increase from $50 to $100 a week and will take effect on January 7, 2013.

Mr. Kellier informed that pension and benefits payable to a special pensioner will move from $1,200 to $1,400 per week. This increase in pension and benefits will take effect on January 10, 2013.

He added that the basic rate paid to old age, invalidity and widow or widower’s pension will be increased from $2,400 to $2,800. Also, the basic rate paid to special children and orphan benefits will move from $4,200 to $4,900 per week. This will take effect on January 10, 2013.

Mr. Kellier also disclosed that as at March 31, 2012 the net assets of the NIS totalled $71.5 billion.