General — 16 February 2016

BELIZE CITY, Mon. Feb. 15, 2016–Social Security Board (SSB) chairman, Doug Singh, said on the KREM WUB, that the Government plans to increase contributory pension payments by 5% this April. The increase has already been approved by Cabinet, in tandem with the transfer of funds from the short-term branch to the long-term branch, to support the payments, Singh told Amandala.

He said that the SSB is proposing another 5% increase in pension payments next April, but that would be contingent upon the outcome of consultations to expand the wage band from a maximum of $320 a week insurable earnings to around $500 weekly.

The increase would cost the SSB $2.8 million more to meet payments to 7,700 pensioners. Non-contributory pensions, which have been increased from $75 to $100, won’t be included in the scheme.

Singh said that over $3 million is paid each year towards pensions for people who have never contributed to the fund, and this expense is met by the others who contribute to the fund.

The SSB had asked its actuary to advise the board on different scenarios for the pension increase, looking at 5%, 10%, 15%, as well as 5% for two consecutive years. The actuary had indicated that implementing the two-tier increase with 5% increase each year would be more feasible.

Consultations on the proposal to concomitantly expand the wage bands to support the second year of pension increase would be held before a final decision is made, Singh explained.


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