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No more Old Age pension for overseas-based Guyanese

The Ministry of Social Protection will be putting measures in place to ensure Guyanese who live in other countries do not access a Guyanese Old Age pension, according to Minister of Social Protection, Volda Lawrence.

 

Minister Lawrence described it as ‘double dipping’ when persons not living in Guyana, access pension from both the Guyanese government and the country in which they live.

“We will be putting an end to persons who are ‘double dipping’…we have persons who believe that it is their right to live in a foreign country and collect their pensions here…we are saying no, it is not going to happen,” Minister Lawrence  was quoted as saying by the Government Information Agency (GINA).

She added that last year, this issue was brought to the attention of the staff of the ministry who were advised they will be held responsible and surcharged where books are issued with them knowing the persons do not live in Guyana.

Persons desirous of accessing old age pension will have to be living in Guyana for a minimum of two years.

“In the hinterland regions we know there are persons with more than on identification card who draw (collect) pension under one name in one region then travel to the next and draw under the other name,” Minister Lawrence explained.

Minister Lawrence explained that the issue of double dipping is not limited to accessing pension, but also public assistance for school aged children.   She explained that some students are beneficiaries of public assistance in Guyana, but they also benefit from similar assistance in neighbouring Brazil.

“To address this, guardians will have to submit an attendance report for the child so that they can continue accessing such assistance,” Minister Lawrence explained.

Additionally, the Ministry will be digitizing the pension system to make it more efficient in identifying redundancies in the system. The digitised database will also indicate to the ministry persons who are authorising others to collecttheir pensions, which is an indication that they are not in Guyana.

The digitizing of the pension database will also see greater accountability within the pension system, and probation officers will have more time do additional field work and conduct visitations.

The Social Protection Ministry has engaged the Ministry of Public Telecommunications to ensure that the two agencies can collectively run a pilot of this electronic project.

  • The Viper

    Isn’t pension earned by serving Guyana for a number of years? What does it matter where you live after you have EARNED your pension IN GUYANA? How exactly is a benefit earned “double dipping”?

    • david db

      my questions exactly. where do they find these ‘intelligent’ ministers from?

      • Pam

        Intelligent????????

        • rudeo

          ha ha ha ……makes a mockery of the word intelligence

    • geeteerebel

      And the question “is” .. where is the law that allows this sinister to deny a Guyanese their “earned” pension?
      Where is that law that says you have to live in Guyana to get your Pension.. perhaps a “reporter” can ask this question?

  • Col123

    An excellent plan . Money now available for the other 50% raise for our hard working ministers!..Can you imagine working towards your “golden years” setting aside a little finance… then suddenly.. your govt refused to make it available to you on a pretext?..and these folks go to church and pray?..PREYING on the elderly is what it is…Who is speaking on behalf of these folks…Who will be next?

    • david db

      very good points.

  • RogerWilli

    Minister Lawrence, Viper does have a point below.

    Perhaps a little more thought can go into this process! The imperatives to stop fraud are clear, but a benefit earned is a benefit due!

    The issue of “double dipping” relates more accurately to some of the other examples in the article than to legitimate old-age pensioners who have chosen to spend their latter years with children overseas.

    In any case, it is a known fact that my pensioners use this pension to help their families in Guyana. This eases burdens like food and transportation.

    The intent is clear and honourable relative to prevent fraudulent “double dipping”, but the messaging may need to be fine-tune somewhat, especially wrt old-age-pensioners.

    Time for a rethink?

  • Reality 2015

    This government is working hard for one term. Imagine travelling overseas to live with a daughter or son at age 55, they are saying don’t apply in Guyana for pension. Ms Minister just tell me after making a contribution to Guyana where should I apply for pension?

  • ChosenNChrist

    As of the 2002 census, the number of persons over the age of 65 was 31, 716 or 4.2% of the population. Assuming that- that percentage is now 10%, let us say that 4% reside in other countries contributing to the life of their grandchildren and others.

    What is the impact of with-holding the monies of that 4%? Many of whom live with their under- 65 years- aged children who have migrated “for a better life”.

    The system is flawed at many levels. What became of those who stole money from the NIS? How has the system dwelt with them? Have they lost their pension benefits as well as their lock stock and barrel? What about those who are stealing from the scheme right now?

    What a ridiculous and ungodly plan, prying on the old. Just fix the crocked system and leave the elderly near and far alone.

  • cuffy

    The Jordan river will be overflowing,very strategic thieving by this govt,you can say goodbye to tourism from seniors,somebody has to pay the increase of the ministers salaries,does this minster not think of the chain effect and it’s causes ,LFS BURNHAM,or C B JAGAN would have never tolerate or entertain such nonsense from a minister.

  • ChosenNChrist

    Shame on all of you for coming up with this ridiculous plan. Just fix the crocked system so that the monies are accounted for.

    Robbers!!!

  • long_legs

    this cannot be an actual report of what this minister said and i know so because, she is not so idiotic to think that she can just hatch-up a plan to stiff pensioners out of what they earned through hard work and sacrifice.

    i will wait and see what she actually said because, this seems like someone just twisted her words to create the usual hysteria over everything this government does.

    ©™

    • rudeo

      optimistic!

    • Col123

      Agree.. The media in Guyana just pounce and twist every reports to make the ruling govt. look incompetent…lol..!

  • Reason

    Digitizing the system is the way to go. Guyanese are some of the biggest scammers. Shameful to read that a person can collect pension in various regions. All tax payers pay for this sin.

    I am not completely sold about not collecting pension if you reside overseas; or across a border. That is money that you worked for.

  • Pam

    This is a government straight from hell! what the hell does she mean by double dipping? This coalition govt. should go now! they are a disgrace.Most of the elderly who now live overseas with their children do not get NIS from Guyana. Why shouldn’t they then get the pittance that is ‘old age pension’. lAWRENCE EXPLAIN WHAT YOU MEAN BY DOUBLE_DIPPING. YOUR STATEMENT DOES NOT MAKE ANY SENSE.

  • rudeo

    So I spend my life working in Guyana….my children/grandchildren sent for me to spend some time with them…..I stay over 2 years….and I am not entitled to my old age pension?…..we voted for change….and I must say this govt has not failed to deliver….I rather suspect that with them knowing that they are playing into the hands of the PPP come 2020 we will see the rigging machine well-oiled, serviced and put back into operation.

  • BeFair_SeeClear

    This is an outright injustice …the people ought to stand and make their voices known against this ……when you work the law dictates that NIS be deducted…it’s not optional….the government can’t take your money and then decide how or if you should get it …..it’s criminal……and amounts to stealing …..all citizens contribute to nation building through the PAYE system ….on top of that there is VAT…..give us our rightly earned money……we have contributed to it with every pay check earned

  • Emile_Mervin

    My understanding is that there is an OLD AGE PENSION, which government gives to all senior folks who are past working age, regardless of their past contributions to the system. Then there is a straight-up PENSION, which is based on a person’s contribution to the system in the past.

    I wrote and received a response, years ago, from the NIS public relations officer who distinguished between the two, explaining that one has to be living in Guyana for two years to get an old age pension, whereas one can be living overseas and still receive a retirement pension payment (for past contributions) after furnishing a life certificate approved by any Guyana Consulate.

    The minister needs to clarify this statement and the media need to do their due diligence to help bring clarity to this issue that is sure to rile up a lot of people.

  • Emile_Mervin

    You have such a huge reservoir of ignorance, I am amazed you are even able to conjure a thought and convey it via a keyboard.

  • Emile_Mervin

    Sorry to have taken the wind out of your sail in an attempt to use this issue to beat up on the Coalition. They deserve a knock now and then, but I will always take a dig at your Boy whenever he warrants it.

  • PETER

    This is what happens when you don’t get a proper education, you have to be able to understand what you read,
    What the Minister meant was that people living abroad are coming home and using a local address and applying for “OLD AGE PENSION” which is $18.200 per month, whether they worked or not you get that from the Government. This has nothing to do with your basic NIS contributions, You can come to Guyana and apply for your NIS contributions and it is paid to you in a lump sum and you can either bank it or take it back with you.

    Effective April 1, 2016 Old Age Pension will increase from $17,000 to
    $18,200. Nearly 50,000 pensioners are expected to benefit. Mr. Speaker,
    in the short space of eight months, this Coalition Government has been
    able to increase old age pension by 38.7 percent, the largest increase
    in recent memory, and a testimony to our commitment to govern in the
    interest of all Guyanese;

    • Arthur Young

      The present Government cancelled the pensioners’ electricity subsidy ($30K p.a.) and water subsidy ($12K p.a.) reducing that percentage significantly. Their pre-election manifesto trumpeted doubling of the pension ($13K per month at that time) which never materialized. “A politician is a man that double crosses that bridge when he comes to it” – Oscar Levant.