NIS’ Response to COVID-19 – Advance Pension Payments

Kingstown, St. Vincent – March 27, 2020

The National Insurance Services (NIS) continues to monitor the development of COVID-19 and its severe disruptions of lives and livelihoods its social and economic impact and the significant of people all over the world. Epidemiologists suggest that the pandemic has disproportionate impact on persons over age 60 years with pre-existing conditions. Unfortunately, our valued pensioners are within this at-risk age-cohort and we must do whatever it takes to protect them.

Accordingly, we have fashioned an advanced pension payment to safeguard the lives and livelihoods of our pensioners and to help them prepare for likely restrictions on opening hours for businesses. As such, the NIS will be making the next two monthly pension payments early.

The last fortnightly pension payment was made on March 27th, 2020. The next payment will be made on April 3rd, 2020 for the 4-week period March 30th, 2020 to April 25th, 2020. This will be followed by a payment on April 30th, 2020, which will cover the 4-week period from April 27th, 2020 to May 23rd, 2020.

This means that the pensioners would not receive their normal fortnightly payments on April 10th, 2020, April 24th, 2020, May 8th, 2020 and May 22nd, 2020 as they would have already received it in advance. The next payment date would be June 5th, 2020 when pensioners would receive their usual fortnightly payment.

The rationale for this initiative is as follows:

  • Limit pensioner’s interaction into public places which align with the social distancing protocols.
  • Minimize the exposure of pensioners to the risk of spreading of COVID-19.
  • Assist pensioners with funds to purchase food, medicine and payment of utility bills before a possible national shutdown/state of
  • Being responsive to the evolving situation and the direct needs of our

In addition, the NIS will soon roll-out the scope and conditions of its Emergency Unemployment Relief Program. The objectives of this emergency program are to provide temporary replacement income and to protect some working families from falling into poverty as a result of job losses due to the COVID-19 challenges. The program will be targeted, timely and temporary. It will put up to EC$2m directly into the hands of hardworking Vincentians during these uncertain times. The program would last three months and is designed to support household incomes.

The NIS also takes this opportunity to remind workers of its Sickness benefit program that provides a replacement income for qualified insured persons. The program covers eligible insured persons who are rendered incapable of work due to illness or are under observation by reason of being a carrier of a disease or having been in contact with a case of infectious disease including COVID-19. Your claim must be supported by a certificate from a medical practitioner or by such evidence as the Director may require for establishing incapacity of insured.

We would like to assure the public that we are doing whatever it takes to preserve lives and reduce the impact on livelihoods due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We are here to protect our people in the most responsible, careful and prudent manner whilst safeguarding the safety, soundness and sustainability of the Fund.