Business

Difficulties in receiving refunds from the National Housing Trust

Tell Claudienne

with Claudienne Edwards

Sunday, August 25, 2019

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I am a retired civil servant and since 2016, have been trying to recover my National Housing Trust (NHT) contributions under the Special Refund Programme. Based on the statement of contributions (copy attached) it appears that the NHT is experiencing difficulty in locating my money,

So, I wrote to the managing director requesting his help.

My letter to the managing director stated the following:

Dear Mr Miller,

In January 2017, I applied for a refund of my contributions between 2008-2016 under the Special Refund Programme. However, it seems that the NHT is having difficulty locating these funds and in 2017, I received refunds for only three years, 2008-2010.

In February 2018, four years of refunds were transferred to me namely 2011, 2013, 2014 and 2015, totalling $87,374.72 (interest included) significantly less than what I had contributed, $125,032.97 — copy of contribution letter enclosed.

I have visited the NHT several times and have spoken with personnel in the Refunds Department and was eventually told that my case had been transferred to the Compliance Department.

I am requesting your help in having the NHT quantify my contributions received (2008 -2016). I also want the NHT to provide me with a breakdown of the funds (2008-2010) that were transferred to me in 2017. Thanking you in advance and I am hoping to receive an early and positive reply. (copy attached).

Unfortunately, no response was received.

So, I wrote to the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) as the NHT is under his portfolio.

In the letter I pointed out the following:

“The NHT cannot account for $93,953.34 of my contributions for the period 2011-2016.”

I again, received no reply. I am requesting your help in clearing up this matter.

EB

Dear EB

Tell Claudienne has been in communication with the Corporate Communication and Marketing Department of the NHT in regards to your issues.

On April 26, Tell Claudienne received the following e-mail from the head of the department.

“Section 22 of the NHT Act makes provisions for a total refund to contributors as upon reaching the legal age of retirement. The amount paid over to persons as total refund will not however include any amounts they had already claimed under the regular contributions refund programme, or those previously credited to their loan account, if they had received a loan from the Trust.

“With regard to the instant matter concerning EB, the NHT can confirm that it is aware of the query being made. The matter as he has expressed, has been referred to our NHT's Compliance Department for a review. The NHT is in the process of reviewing data submitted by EB's employer on the company's annual return, to ensure all contributions for all employees are correctly filed and apportioned. Together with EB's employer, we have made significant progress in the reconciliation of the data and we anticipate the process could be completed in the next 6-8 weeks. The NHT commits as well to keeping EB informed as to the outcome of the review and to advise him upon completion how to proceed with having the issue satisfactorily resolved.”

As you appear to have met all of the NHT requirements for you to get the special refund, including providing the NHT with a letter from the government agency where you worked and which certified that: “All contributions have been fully paid over to the Trust for the years 1976 to 2009 and 2010 to 2016,” Tell Claudienne requested the Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister to clarify why the NHT was not immediately paying the outstanding monies due to you, and was requiring you to wait 6-8 weeks.

However, your wait to be refunded has been much longer than six to eight weeks.

In June, Tell Claudienne was told that the Permanent Secretary had asked the NHT for a full report on the matter. Since then, officers of the NHT have visited the HR unit of the Agency and done an audit.

We note that you have now received the monies the NHT owed you. We see that one payment was lodged by the NHT to your bank account in early August and that the second payment was lodged to your account this week.

We wish you all the best

MY LIGHT BILL IS CLIMBING

Dear Claudienne,

My problem is with the JPSCo and I live in the Kingston 10 area.

I moved to my current address on May 23, 2017 and since then my light bills have been in the range of $1,400-$1,700, and at the highest it was $3,000.

In June 2018, I noticed large increases in the bill. I went to the Ruthven Road office of the JPS and was told that I was getting estimated bills.

I was asked by the customer service how much my light bill was where I previously lived and I told her that I used to pay $3,000.

Customer Service told me to continue to pay the light bill until the JPS sorts out the problem.

However, since June 2018, the bills have continued to climb even though the JPS continues to say that my electricity usage is being estimated.

The May 10, 2019 bill was $26,795 and I don't know what to do.

I would appreciate your help to find out when the situation will be normalised.

PC

Dear PC,

According to the JPS, their investigations into your account have revealed that the balance of $26,795 on your account that you complained about, is actually a credit.

An e-mail Tell Claudienne received from the JPS stated the following.

“You will note a minus sign before the figure -$25.417.60. This means that she does not owe the JPS, as this is a credited amount on her account.

We note however, that PC has received a number of estimated bills and so we will be making the necessary effort to ensure that she receives actual bills that reflect her true usage monthly.”

We wish you all the best.

Have a problem with a store, utility, a company? Telephone 876-936-9436 or write to: Tell Claudienne c/o Sunday Finance, Jamaica Observer, 40-42 1/2 Beechwood Avenue, Kingston 5; or e-mail:edwardsc@jamaicaobserver.com. Please include a contact phone number.


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