JIS News

Retirement promises many opportunities for individuals who have made the necessary preparation for this stage in their lives.
Some take up a hobby, others volunteer, or start a home-based business, while others may choose to further their studies, take up a sport, or travel the world.
However others may find this period boring and for others, still, challenging. This is why it is important to plan ahead to ensure that the future after years of working, is satisfactory, and stable financially, and otherwise.
For example, many plan ahead by making monthly contributions to the National Housing Trust (NHT), which is collected as a lump sum upon retirement. This is categorized as Special Contributions Refund.
Speaking with JIS News Manager of Contribution Refunds at the NHT, Mrs. Delores Facey-Johnson, says contributors who reach the statutory retirement age of 65 years, are due to be refunded all the contributions held on their account by the NHT, with interest.
“(The payments are always made) in a lump sum and it is subject to what we have here, based on what have been paid over (to us). So it is all the years that we have in our system, that have not yet been paid to you,” she adds.
Special contribution refunds do not include amounts already claimed as regular contribution refunds or credited to the contributor’s loan account.
Mrs. Facey-Johnson notes that contributors aged 60 to 64, who have been retired by their employers, may also apply to the NHT for a refund of all contributions being held on their account. Persons who retire early because of a disability are also due a complete refund of their contributions.
Explaining the process, which should be followed for refunds, Mrs. Facey-Johnson says it begins by making an application online by visiting the Trust’s website at: http://www.nht.gov.jm.
She informs that applicants must also have accompanying documents including: a Taxpayers Registration Number (TRN); National Insurance Scheme (NIS); a valid (non-expired) photo identification (ID) such as a driver’s licence, passport or voter’s ID; proof of age (valid passport/birth certificate); proof of income and contributions (letter from employer verifying income and contributions from the contributor’s salary); and registered names of the company/companies with which you worked during the year/years for which you are applying for a refund.
Highlighting the importance of these documents, she notes that proof of income is critical as “in the case where we may have some issues with the data, the annual returns submitted by the employer, then this would help us to determine.what contributions were made on your behalf”.
She encourages applicants to ensure that they submit original documents, which will be photocopied and returned immediately.
These should be submitted to the Customer Service Department at any of the NHT’s branches across the island. There is a turn-around time of 15 working days, which is the frame within which applicants should receive their payments once the contributions have been identified on the system.
She adds that applicants are usually sent a text message or an email advising if a payment has been computed and when this will be ready for collection.
“If we have identified money in the system for you, then we will tell you. We will say that we have commuted some payment for you and the turnaround time in which you will get this. If there are other issues related to your application. Then we will also communicate that to you,” Mrs. Facey-Johnson notes.
Mrs. Facey-Johnson notes that issues of not being able to identify someone on the system may occur, as there may be inconsistency with the data. Therefore, she is encouraging applicants to be vigilant in ensuring that all the information is correct.
“Contributors. can assist in the process in helping to ensure that their employers submit, in particular, the returns with accurate information…we have a lot of returns where NIS numbers are missing from them,” she discloses, adding that this lengthens the refund process.
She notes that since last year, however, the Trust has “tightened up” on that process to ensure that the documents are consistent and in order.
“We’ve said if you submit returns with incomplete or inaccurate application, as far as we can identify, then that application will not be accepted,” she states.
She notes that payments may be made via a remittance agency or banks. “Some persons may select that it be sent to a remittance agency and that is very quick. If it is a bank, we have to send your account number to the bank for verification then that lengthens the process a bit and that is why the 15 working days (is normally given),” she adds.
The key to happy retirement, therefore, is planning ahead, ensuring that all the factors that would lead to enjoyment and peace of mind, are in place.

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