The National Insurance Scheme (NIS) has asked the High Court for guidance after a pensioner challenged the non-calculation of his late payments.
The non-calculations of those payments affected the pension of William Lewis, a Golden Grove, East Bank Demerara resident who reached the pensionable age of 60 on September 3rd, 2017.
Lewis has been battling NIS, the state’s social insurance entity since 2017.
In June 2017, he was written to by NIS, demanding he remit over $1.2M in unpaid contributions.
Lewis complied, thinking that he would then receive his full pension.
The pensioner wrote President David Granger earlier this year complaining that he has not received his NIS benefits despite honoring all his outstanding payments as a self-employed person.
The President, in March, responded to Lewis indicating that he was investigating the matter and has asked the Minister of Social Protection to follow-up.
NIS, in late March, in a report by Randalyn Rowe, its Legal Advisor and Corporate Secretary to Minister Amna Ally, Ministry of Social Protection, said that Lewis after reaching 60 in September 2017, submitted a claim for Old Age Benefit.
He received a grant of $206,000 based on 639 contributions.
However, an unhappy Lewis filed an appeal.
“The total number of contributions on his record is 1501 which were paid during the period 1973 to 2017. However, 862 of the self-employed contributions were excluded from the computation of his benefit in accordance with Regulation 9 due to late payment; those contributions were paid on August 22nd 2017.”
NIS explained to the minister that the use of paid computation of Old Age Benefit is a reserved question for the NIS board.
“Mr Lewis’ matter was discussed at the 513th National Insurance Board meeting and it was decided that the late paid contributions would not be utilized. Since the Board’s decision, Mr Lewis has sought ministerial intervention on this matter through the Ministry of Finance.”
It was disclosed that the Minister of Finance, Winston Jordan, in reviewing the matter, asked the NIS board to revisit the matter urgently.
Jordan was of the view that the pensioner was advised by staff to pay the late contributions in anticipation of a pension.
“This matter has been resubmitted to the National Insurance Board for deliberation and a decision is expected at its next statutory meeting.”
A frustrated Lewis approached Kaieteur News last week.
A senior NIS official, familiar with the case, disclosed that the matter is being addressed.
She explained that the issue of late payments and the calculations of contributions have been dogging NIS as many self-employed would miss payments and try to make up for it later.
Under NIS’ regulations, those late payments don’t count.
The High Court’s interpretation would pave the way now for how NIS deals with matters similar to Lewis’.
Lewis said he had engaged several persons in his bid for a resolution.
Among them were NIS’s Chairman, John Seeram; General Manager, Holly Greaves; union leader, Lincoln Lewis; and he even wrote and visited Minister Jaipaul Sharma.
During his campaign, Lewis said he wrote Director General of the Ministry of the Presidency, Joseph Harmon, and even delivered copies of his records to Minister of Public Security, Khemraj Ramjattan
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