Last update: 05-Dec-2013 12:35 am
Thursday, December 05, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
You are here
NIB: Pensioner not entitled to extra $$
Each week, the Guardian Angel column highlights complaints sent in by you, the consumer, and provides ready solutions or directs you to the appropriate resource. Problem: Balkissoon Deonarine, a former San Fernando City Council employee, said he submitted 841 contributions to the National Insurance Board (NIB) over 16 years. Since April 2001, Mr Deonarine has received his $3,000 pension from NIB. He explained, “My complaint is that I am entitled to a minimum of three credits which I am not receiving since attaining the age of 60, 12 years ago.” Solution: NIB explained that the pension is $3,000 for everyone who accesses this benefit. “Mr Deonarine’s basic pension is $784.65 and the difference of $2,215.35 consists of his increments (credits) and a subsidy to bring him to $3,000.”
This means, therefore, that Mr Deonarine has no funds outside of his $3,000 monthly pension to receive. NIB’s Web site says, “Contributions may comprise paid contributions inclusive of voluntary contributions, age credits and/or benefit credits.” Voluntary contributions “allow an insured person who is no longer employed to maintain a contribution record during periods of unemployment.” Benefit credits are calculated when the recipient is receiving sickness or maternity benefits from NIB. In those cases, “neither you nor your employer pays contributions to NIBTT on your behalf. “You will receive benefit credits from the NIBTT as if you were on the job and contributing to the system. These contributions will be awarded in the same earnings class in which your benefit is paid. “The benefit credits will ensure that your loss of earnings does not affect the value of your entitlement to further benefits.” Age credits were introduced at the inception of the national insurance scheme, so that those over the age of 60 can qualify for the long-term benefits. However, although it is in the National Insurance Act, age credits are no longer used to calculate pension benefits.
Problem: Guapo resident Bagrattee Kokeram said, “I have applied for (the social welfare) pension since I have turned 65 and have been rejected every time.” Ms Kokeram said she has dual citizenship with the US since 2008, but she has lived here more than in the US.
Solution: The senior citizens’ pension is administered by the Social Welfare Division. Citizens 65 years and older and whose income does not exceed $3,000 are eligible to apply for the pension. When the Social Welfare Office, Pt Fortin, was contacted, the senior officer said the first time Ms Kokeram applied for the pension, she withdrew the application. This time, however, the office is waiting for information on her travel to the US. According to the Ministry of the People and Social Development’s Web site, citizens must have been resident in T&T for 20 years immediately preceding the claim for pension. Temporary absence, not in excess of five years in the aggregate, will not be counted as periods of absence from T&T. Ms Kokeram explained that her US passport is not stamped, but the information on her travel is computerised. The welfare office has to give Ms Kokeram a letter, which she has to collect, that will allow her to access this information from the US authorities, as she is also a US citizen.
Even as you’re encouraged to take the appropriate routes for addressing your complaints, the Guardian Angel is here to assist you. You can send the Guardian Angel an e-mail about your problem and what steps you took to deal with the matter. The Guardian Angel looks forward to hearing from you and bringing some relief to your problems. E-mail her at [email protected] Please include your name, address and telephone number, as we’ll need them to follow up with you. Unfortunately, due to the volume of e-mails and limited space, it is impossible to address every complaint, no matter how worthy or acknowledge receipt of every e-mail.
User comments posted on this website are the sole views and opinions of the comment writer and are not representative of Guardian Media Limited or its staff. Guardian Media Limited accepts no liability and will not be held accountable for user comments.
Please help us keep out site clean from inappropriate comments by using the flag option.
Guardian Media Limited reserves the right to remove, to edit or to censor any comments. Any content which is considered unsuitable, unlawful or offensive, includes personal details, advertises or promotes products, services or websites or repeats previous comments will be removed.