New Pensioners Encouraged To Open Bank Accounts

Story Highlights

  • New pensioners are being encouraged to open bank accounts to enable direct deposit of their monies.
  • Under a new system implemented by the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, direct deposits are now mandatory for new pensioners, as the Ministry moves to eliminate the use of pension vouchers.
  • his was noted by Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Colette Roberts-Risden, during a visit to the Ministry’s St. Thomas parish office in Morant Bay, on December 17.

New pensioners are being encouraged to open bank accounts to enable direct deposit of their monies.

Under a new system implemented by the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, direct deposits are now mandatory for new pensioners, as the Ministry moves to eliminate the use of pension vouchers.

This was noted by Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Colette Roberts-Risden, during a visit to the Ministry’s St. Thomas parish office in Morant Bay, on December 17.

“Since September, for new pension applications, we are now collecting the individual banking information to be able to do the payment directly into their bank accounts. We are starting with new pensioners. Eventually, we are going to move away from the pension books,” she said.

Mrs. Roberts-Risden and new Portfolio Minister, Hon. Dr. Fenton Ferguson, were addressing concerns raised by staff, following a tour of the facility. They were accompanied by other senior officials in the Ministry.

She explained that this move is in keeping with improving the system of payments under the National Insurance Scheme (NIS), under which the pension scheme falls.

“For years, we have used pension vouchers and there is difficulty (with that). There is difficulty with reconciling them and tracking the payments. They are easily replicated, so it is not a very secure method of payment,” she said.

The Permanent Secretary said with this new system, the Ministry will be able to track more accurately who are deceased and who are alive, in terms of life certificates.  She added that it will also be easier for pensioners to receive their monies, as “they will  not have to go to the post office to cash the money.”

Mrs. Roberts-Risden said the idea is to eventually introduce cheques for those pensioners without bank accounts, and direct deposits for those who do.

In the meantime, the Minister praised the workers at the St. Thomas office for their commitment, and encouraged them to continue to carry out their duties with the utmost professionalism.

“I believe that you have worked hard. I have received good reports  in terms of workers who have been doing good quality work. I have absolutely no doubt that the work that you have been doing in St. Thomas continues to impact the lives of many, including our babies and our senior citizens. Continue to do good work,” he urged.

The Minister’s visit was part of his familiarisation tours, in keeping with plans to improve on the delivery of services offered by the Ministry.

JIS Social