Pensioners in St Thomas have been urged to submit their National Insurance Scheme (NIS) life certificates on or before the due dates, to continue receiving their benefits.
Speaking yesterday (May 11) at the monthly sitting of the parish’s Municipal Corporation, Acting Manager at the Ministry of Labour and Social Security’s St Thomas office, Othniel Smith, said his team is willing to do what they can to empower pensioners in the parish to act on the matter.
Pointing out what he said is a common complaint by some pensioners about the certificates being issued through the post office, Smith said: “What we ask is that if and when you know that the certificate would have expired and you have not gotten one, you can come down to the office and we will gladly print one for you.”
Smith further reminded of the recent announcement by Portfolio Minister, Karl Samuda, about increases in the NIS benefits. He explained that the life certificates are crucial for the pensioners, because “without them, the pension will be suspended”.
“So, please take in the life certificates on the due date to ensure that there is a continuance of the pension benefits,” Smith said.
Process to complete life document
A life certificate is an official document used to verify the living status of a pensioner.
When completing the document, pensioners should ensure that it is signed by themselves. Where he or she is incapable of signing, a medical doctor must certify that this person is unable to sign, because of medical reasons. The life certificate must also be countersigned by persons such as a Justice of the Peace, Principal, or Bank Manager.
A list of persons who may certify is attached to the life certificate. For NIS pensioners residing overseas, a Notary Public must sign the certificate. It is important to ensure that the address on the Life Certificate is current.
Therefore, if pensioners have changed address and contact information, they must inform the NIS office immediately.
Life certificates are issued three times per year (every four months) to persons who access their pension locally. For persons living overseas, these are issued two times per year (every six months). In the event they choose to access their pension in Jamaica, they will also receive their life certificate three times per year.