Widow's tiny Gov't pension

Tell Claudienne

With Claudienne Edwards

Sunday, October 21, 2012    

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Dear Claudienne

My husband died in January 2011. He had been employed by the Government for 46 years. He retired in the 1990s and received a pension until his death.

Recently I received a letter from the Accountant General's Department advising me that in keeping with the provisions of the Pensions Civil Service Family Benefit Act, I had been awarded a widow's pension of $5,590.25 per annum effective January 12, 2011. The letter said that my husband's contributions to the scheme ceased on October 1, 1993.

I cannot understand the small amount stated in the letter and I am wondering if a mistake was made in calculating the benefit.

I am now 75 years old; I'm sick and unable to work again.

I am asking you to have this matter clarified for me.


Dear IW

The finance ministry has advised Tell Claudienne that the calculation for your widow's pension was correct.

However, the ministry said that even though your widow's pension was calculated at $5,590.25 annually, you will actually receive $90,000 annually, that is the minimum pension payable under government regulations.

The ministry explained that the calculation for your widow's pension was based on the original pension your husband was awarded when he retired in the 1990s. His pension was based on the number of years he contributed to the Family Benefit Scheme. Civil servants are required to contribute to the scheme for 35 years or up to the age of 65.

The spokesman said that the formula for the calculation was one per cent of your husband's final salary times the number of contributory years up to when he retired, plus one per cent of his pension times the five additional years he contributed to the scheme after he retired and received a pension.

Good luck.

Dear Claudienne

I applied for my NIS pension in February 2012. When I applied, I was told that the process would take six months. I called the Ruthven Road NIS office in July and was told to call back in August. However, when I called the office in August, they told me to call again in December. I am just getting the runaround.

Could you please check with them for me?


Dear CF

Tell Claudienne was advised by the Ruthven Road NIS office that your file was sent to the NIS head office at Heroes Circle for processing for the award of your claim. The head office told us that you will hear from them shortly.

Good luck.

Have a problem with a store, utility, a company? Telephone 936-9436 or write to: Tell Claudienne c/o Sunday Finance, Jamaica Observer, 40-42 1/2 Beechwood Avenue, Kingston 5; or e-mail: Please include a contact phone number.





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