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Cabinet has approved increases in all categories of pensions, grants and allowances payable under the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) effective from January 10, 2013.

This was disclosed by Minister of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Derrick Kellier on July 25, during his contribution to the Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives. 

Proposed increases in pensions and allowances are as follows: old age, invalidity, widow’s/widower’s pension from $2,400 to $2, 800 (full basic rate); $1,800 to $2,100 (3/4 rate) and $1,200 to $1,400 (half rate); maximum related pension from $1,400 to $1,500; sugar workers from $1,200 to $1,400; and orphan’s/special child’s pension from $4,200 to $4,900.

In addition, dependent spouse’s allowance (addition to old age and invalidity pension) moves from $800 to $900; special anniversary pension (for persons born before January 1908) from $1, 200 to $1,400; and maternity allowance (payable to eligible domestic workers) from $4,500 to $5,000.However the employment injury benefit and disablement pension, which ranges between $320 to $3,200, will remain the same at this time..

"It is projected that approximately 110,000 pensioners will benefit from these increases,” Mr. Kellier said.

Also, effective January 7, 2013 the Insurable Wage Ceiling (IWC) will be increased by 50 per cent, which will push the IWC up from $1 million to $1.5 million.

"Under the proposed IWC of $1.5 million, the maximum contribution by an employee will be $37,500 per annum, which will be matched by the employer,”

Mr. Kellier said. He informed that this increase in contribution, resulting from the change in the IWC, will affect only employees earning in excess of $1 million per annum. 

"All these measures will ensure the continued viability of the National Insurance Fund (NIF) to meet future obligations especially with the ageing of the population and the increasing number of contributors, who will become eligible for pension benefits in the future,” the Social Security Minister said.

The IWC is the maximum salary on which NIS and National Health Fund contributions are calculated.  It was last increased in August 2010 from $500,000 to $1 million per annum.