The Ministry of Social Protection has been actively pursuing mechanisms which will help to prevent abuse of the Old Age Pension Fund by Guyanese living overseas.
Director of Social Work, Wentworth Tanner, had explained that among the mechanisms, the Ministry has been collaborating with the Central Immigration authority to check the records of pensioners.
Tanner said that to stop persons living overseas from tapping into the old age pension fund, records at the passport office are now checked regularly before the distribution of pension books.
If the record of the travel history shows that the person is non- compliant then, that person is not allowed to collect the pension book.
Additionally, Tanner noted the Ministry has been working to implement other measures to further prevent the abuse of the Old Age Pension. “There are other methods that the Ministry is looking at to enforce the policy, but it cannot be publicized at this time.”
Tanner also noted that the Ministry is still working to create a system that would be not easily manipulated and abused.
Former Minister of Social Protection, Volda Lawrence, had announced a plan to tackle the incidence of ‘double dipping’ whereby persons not living in Guyana access old age pension from both Guyana and the country in which they live in.
“We have persons who believe that it is their right to live in a foreign country and collect their (old age) pensions here. We are saying no, it is not going to happen,” Minister Lawrence said.
She noted that the matter was brought to the attention of the staff of the ministry, who were advised they will be held responsible and surcharged in cases where books are issued although they know that the persons do not live in Guyana.
Anyone desirous of accessing old age pension will have to be living in Guyana for a minimum of two years. Among the methods which were part of the plan to ensure greater efficiency accountability and transparency of the pension system was the introduction of the automated (digitized) distribution.
In accordance with the laws of Guyana, Old Age Pension is not an entitlement from employment, as in the case of Government Pension and National Insurance Scheme Pension.
Rather Old Age Pension is a monthly payment available to eligible Guyanese aged 65 or older.
According information posted by the Ministry it is provided for under the Old Age Pension Act (Chapter 36:03), which clearly states that applicants must meet certain statutory conditions to qualify for Old Age Pension.
These statutory conditions are that the person must have attained the age of 65 years; must satisfy the appropriate authority that he/she has been a citizen of Guyana for at least ten years immediately preceding his/her claim for a pension, and the person must have been ordinarily resident in Guyana during the 20 years immediately preceding their claim for pension.
In the event that the person is temporarily absent from Guyana, the applicant or pensioner must satisfy the Authority, usually through the provision of the person’s passport and an immigration check conducted by the Ministry, that the period of absence from Guyana has not exceeded two years during the past 20 years, according to law.
Additionally, a person receiving Old Age Pension may become ineligible if that person is a resident in a charitable institution that provides board and lodging; is in prison or has migrated.
It is in this context, the Ministry has sought to reinforce the laws, stating that persons, whether they worked in Guyana or not, who are now living overseas are ineligible for Old Age Pension in Guyana.
Oct 16, 2018By Sean Devers in Trinidad In association with Regal, Vnet, Noble House Seafoods & Cascadia Hotel In murky conditions and played before virtually empty stands, Guyana Jaguars, led by a 79-run...
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