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The National Insurance Scheme (NIS) Act is being amended to provide for the payment of arrears on NIS claims for up to three years.
Minister of Labour and Social Security, Pearnel Charles, in a statement in the House of Representatives on (Dec.18), said that the necessary changes to the Act, which were approved by Cabinet, are being done by the Chief Parliamentary Counsel and the payment of arrears will begin in February 2008.
He explained that under the amendments, the time frame for claiming pension benefits will be changed from 12 months to three years and the amount of arrears payable to three years. In addition, the time frame for claiming Employment Injury Benefit has been extended from 10 days to six months. Also, NIS pension grants will now be paid whenever a grant is made.
Mr. Charles said the amendments will be retroactive to April 2001, allowing just over 14,000 NIS contributors and pensioners to benefit. The retroactive payment of pensions and grants resulting from these changes will amount to approximately $400 million and this expenditure will be met directly from the National Insurance Fund.
“Current NIS pensioners eligible for this payment of arrears need not apply as our system is so designed to identify them,” the Minister said, noting that pensioners will receive their payment via cheques through the post offices.