The Caswell Franklyn Column – National Insurance Director Misled the Public About Pensions

Ian Carrington, Director of the NIS

On Sunday, September 3, 2017 the front page of the Sunday Sun carried an item in which the Director of the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) is reported to have said that workers took an inordinate amount of sick leave only to find on retirement that their pension payments had taken a hit. He is then quoted as having said:

I always encourage people not to take sick leave unless they are actually sick. It impacts on the amount of pension you will get later.

The following day I called the Nation to ascertain if anybody from NIS had called to correct those statements. Since no one has done so, I cannot sit idly by and allow such dangerous misinformation to go unchallenged. Not only is it incorrect; it is irresponsible and has potential for devastating consequences.

A person who is sick could believe this report and decide that he does not want to jeopardise his pension. As a result, he might go to work while being ill and become a danger to himself, his fellow workmen and the public. Just imagine a situation where the driver of a public service vehicle goes to work when he is sick because he does not want to lose out on part of his pension and crashes with a full load of passengers.

From my experience, having worked at NIS, I make bold as to say that a person’s pension would only be negatively impacted if he/she refused or neglected to submit claims for sickness, maternity or unemployment benefits.

Any person who is ill, for a period Monday to Saturday and submits a sickness claim, would be entitled to receive monetary compensation, in addition to a credited contribution. Credited contributions count towards a person’s pension entitlement, even though no actual money is paid into the NIS fund. Section 57.(1) and (2) of the National Insurance and Social Security (Benefit) Regulations, 1967 state:

57.(1) For every contribution week for the whole of which an insured person

(a) received, or would but for regulation 4(1) have received sickness benefit; or

(b) received maternity benefit; or

(c) received, or would but for regulation 46(1) have received, unemployment benefit

a contribution shall be credited to that person without actual payment thereof.

(2) A credited contribution shall, subject to the provisions of these Regulations, be valid for sickness, maternity, unemployment benefit and invalidity benefit and for old age contributory grant or pension and shall be equal to the value of the average weekly earnings on which the rate of sickness, unemployment or maternity benefit was based.

In order to qualify for an NIS pension, a person must have 500 contributions. If someone refused to submit their sickness claim, in the mistaken belief that his/her pension would be affected, that person would lose out on some money to tide him/her over a period when not in receipt of income. But worse yet, that person could fall short in the number of contributions needed to qualify for a pension, since no credits would be available to make up the shortfall.

Regulation 31of the NIS Benefit Regulations demonstrate why it is vital to submit sickness benefit claims and accumulate your credits. It provides that of the 500 contributions needed to qualify for a pension, only 150 must be actually paid; the remaining 350 could be credited contributions.

Some enlightened employers pay their workers the full salary and take the benefit when it is paid. If workers qualify for credits in these circumstance, both the employer and employee are entitled to a refund of the contributions paid. This appears to be a carefully guarded secret, the refund is not automatic, you must apply for it.

The National Insurance Fund is primarily intended to pay benefits to people who are insured under the NIS scheme. It is not intended to provide budgetary support to the Government. If they cannot manage this economy without relying on NIS funds, they are in the wrong jobs.

117 thoughts on “The Caswell Franklyn Column – National Insurance Director Misled the Public About Pensions

  1. Watchman September 16, 2017 at 6:34 PM #
    “@Walter Blackman

    Your aim with the PPK got no better, by now your damaged feet are causing wet gangrene to affect some of your body tissues. Remember your advise(sic), and promise to my friend about the watercourse situation in Clarkes Road, St. James. It was before you set yourself up, to fall-off St. Michael East. This watchman realized who you were then, and give you the PPK, perhaps you may realize, that some on BU are spot on, about who Walter Blackman really is, and will attack you,”

    I have a high tolerance level, but since you persist with your ignorance, I am going to stop you in your tracks. Right here. Right now.

    After reading the story you wrote on BU about how your neighbour, your parliamentary representative, and MTW had conspired to put you and your property at risk, I boarded a plane at Atlanta and headed for Barbados.

    When I arrived in Barbados, I searched for Alden Blackman in the phone book, and eventually gave you a call. You gave me directions to your house. I have lived in Barbados for many years, but that was the first time, I ever left Highway 1 and went up in Clarke’s Road.

    Whilst “touring” your property and the surrounding area, I noticed that the efforts of your parliamentary representative and MTW had resulted in a public road being extended as far as possible to allow residents in that section to get vehicular entrance to their homes. From that standpoint, I thought their objective was noble, and their actions reasonable.

    When I asked you how you were being affected, and what risks you faced, you then demonstrated to me, in a boastful way, that you had used your own money to safeguard your property. You confessed to me that part of the strategy you used to protect your property had resulted in the channeling of water towards the “poor” people who lived on NHC owned property to the west of you. You then proceeded to tell me, that as a result of your action, these “poor” people no longer “speak” to you.

    Similar to your “poor” neighbours, I have not spoken to you after that visit either. I feel a deep pain in my heart for these people whenever Barbados is threatened with heavy and persistent showers. May God continue to shield and protect them during the passage of Maria.

    I have no names to call you. I have no condemnatory remarks to heap upon you. All I would say is that we have some Barbadians living among us who deserve to be put in a burning barrel and cast out to sea.

    BU readers are not fools. They will easily see who “Walter Blackman really is”, and since I have nothing to gain by telling lies, they will also see who Alden Blackman (aka Watchman) really is. I really hope you are not related to me.

    May the Lord have mercy on your soul.

  2. Pingback: The Caswell Franklyn Column – National Insurance Staff not Sufficiently Trained to Administer Scheme | Barbados Underground

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