JIS News

Pensioners, who have not received their NIGold cards, will be able to collect them at post offices across the island as at Tuesday (Dec.14).
According to Director of National Insurance at the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, Denzil Thorpe, NIGold cards have been delivered to all parishes and were being dispatched through the post offices. Many pensioners, he noted, have already received their cards, while others will be able to collect theirs in the upcoming week.
Mr. Thorpe told JIS News that the paper-based cards were being redistributed to pensioners instead of the electronic swipe cards, which should have come on stream on December 1. However, due to the disruptions caused by Hurricane Ivan, many pensioners were not able to meet the November 30 registration deadline.
Mr. Thorpe informed that of the over 70,000 pensioners, only 42,000 have registered for NIGold so far and the deadline has been extended to March 31, 2005 to allow more pensioners to come on board.
“This four month time frame,” Mr. Thorpe indicated, “will allow for all the other registrations to be done. The Ministry is urging those pensioners who have not yet registered to do so at the nearest electoral office.”
He stressed that “as of April 1, 2005, only those persons who have registered, will be able to access NIGold benefits using the electronic swipe cards.”
Pensioners, he explained, do not have to wait until they receive NIGold information from the Ministry, but may simply visit the electoral office and use their pension books and valid identification to register.
Pensioners, who are unable to visit their electoral office, should request a home visit by calling the electoral office or contacting the NIS office in their parish.
The paper-based cards that are currently being circulated, Mr. Thorpe said, have been prorated for use over the next four months, allowing pensioners to receive more benefits, when accessing health services and prescription drugs. The increase in the level of benefits, Mr. Thorpe said “was an initiative of the Ministry to assist in relieving the effects of Hurricane Ivan.”
Pensioners, the Director continued, who needed any form of clarification or information regarding NIGold may contact Blue Cross of Jamaica toll free at 1-888-464-4653 or call the Ministry at 1-888-991-2089.

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