No pension for retired teacher

Business

No pension for retired teacher

Tell Claudienne

Claudienne Edwards

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Print this page Email A Friend!


Dear Claudienne,

In 2004, I was retired by the Ministry of Education from my job as a teacher because of ill health.

An extra increment that I should have received on my salary for a diploma I earned from a British university has still not been paid to me.

I broke my years of service as a teacher, as I left the island and went to the United Kingdom for a period. However, I believe that I am still due a small pension for the 10 years and one term I worked as a teacher, and this has also not been paid to me.

I have written to the acting minister of education about my situation but have received no response.

Please see the following letter that I sent to the minister:

“I write as a retired teacher who is getting no teacher's pension for all the years of service and no increment on my salary after being upgraded to a diploma teacher.

I am destitute as all I get is the NIS pension. When I called the salary division of the ministry, they said they can't find my file.

I got a small gratuity from the ministry from January 1997 to December 2002. They ignored the years before. In 2015, a kind lawyer who did not charge me wrote to the then Permanent Secretary(PS) Mrs Elaine Foster Allen.

In reply to my lawyer the PS said that, “The request has been directed to the Teachers Salary Unit for action,” for them to investigate and to conclude the matter.

My lawyer became frustrated as when she checked with the salary unit she was told that my file could not be found.

Please, Mr Samuda, kindly hasten to help me, a suffering, needy, retired teacher. I need closure and your help.

Thank You.”

I would appreciate your help in getting the ministry to clarify why I have not received a pension or been paid the extra increment due to me for the diploma.

MJB

Dear MJB

Since Tell Claudienne received your complaint in July 2019, the column has been in communication with the Pensions Units of the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Finance (MOF) to have your issues clarified.

The Pensions Unit of the Ministry of Education has informed the column that the records of the Accounts Department show that you were paid an increment of $15,000 for the diploma for the period 1997 to 2000. The ministry said that they continued to pay you the increment for the diploma up until you were retired in 2004.

An e-mail from the manager of the Ministry of Finance and Planning Public Relations Unit sent to Tell Claudienne has stated the following:

“I am to advise that MB received a gratuity in 2004; the award letter dated July 5, 2004 was sent. The gratuity was awarded as she did not satisfy the required years that would make her eligible for a pension.

Remember, too, that the award of an ex-gratia payment is discretionary. Another letter was again written to her in 2015, which outlined the criteria for the eligibility for a pension pursuant to the Pensions (Teachers) Act:

A teacher must serve for at least one half of the period elapsing from commencement of teaching service to the date teaching service ceased.

A teacher must serve at least 18 years if there are breaks in service.

The Jamaica Teachers' Association was copied on that letter as well.”

The MOF Pensions Unit said that in 2015 they wrote and informed you why you did not qualify for a pension but you said you never received that letter.

Tell Claudienne notes that after you spoke with the head of the MOF Pensions Unit in December 2019, they sent you a copy of the letter that was sent to you in 2015.

There appears to have been an error that resulted in your not receiving the letter in 2015, as although the letter was sent to your address on opening it a name other than yours was on the photocopy you received from the MOF in December 2019.

The photocopy of the letter you received from the MOF in December 2019, reads as follows:

“The records show that you are not eligible for a pension in keeping with the Pensions (Teachers) Act because you did not satisfy the criteria of the Act which stipulates

(1) A teacher must serve for at least half of the period elapsing from commencement of teaching service to the date teaching service ceases.

(2) A teacher must serve at least 18 years if there are breaks in service.

Despite your ineligibility for a pension, you were awarded a gratuity of $377,858 in 2004 because of heart illness.”

We wish you all the best.

NCB PROBLEM SOLVED

Dear Claudienne,

Good afternoon.

At the time of sending you this e-mail on November 5, 2019, I am desperately in need of some assistance, and I do hope you can help. I have two loans with National Commercial Bank (NCB).

These loans were done in 2015 at a branch in central Jamaica. When I was doing the second loan, I was told that I did not need a second compulsory account, even though I had requested one. I was informed that the one I already had was attached to the first loan, so it was okay.

Last year, I got a job in another country, the relocation and settling expenses for me and my family were more than anticipated, so I fell behind in my obligations to the loan.

However, I made payments amounting to $710,237.42 between August 2018 and October 2019.

One of the issues I have is that since NCB has started making changes to their system it has created a problem for me in that all the monies I have paid in the last few months have been posted to only one of the loan numbers. This has resulted in one loan being in good standing while the other plunged into more arrears.

I spoke to someone at the bank in August 2019, and I was told that the money is transferred by the computer system, and there is nothing they can do. Previously, the money would be split between both loans. Because the accounts are linked to the one compulsory savings account, I am being charged penalties on both loans to the amount of $46,000 per month, for a couple of months even on the one that is in good standing.

NCB has put a closure demand on the loan with the accumulated arrears (of over $1.6 million) that they have created, even though the loans are to be completed in 2021. The monthly penalties have resulted in the balance surpassing what it was in August 2018, even though I had paid over $700,000 during that period.

Claudienne, I have no desire to flee from my commitments, but I need the loans to have separate accounts so I can sort this thing out, although I don't have all the money to pay at once.

This has resulted in difficulty sleeping because I'm worried about the loans and the exorbitant penalties. I know I am in arrears, but I've been making monthly payments and just need to have this sorted out because each time I call, I just get the runaround. Thank you for your assistance.

BD

Dear BD

Tell Claudienne has been in communication with NCB and note that the bank has quickly resolved your issues. You sent Tell Claudienne an e-mail dated December 11, 2019 that reads as follows:

“This is an update and a thank you.

In my e-mail yesterday, I indicated that a representative from NCB had been in touch with me and asked me to give him until the end of this week to address my concerns.

I am happy to report that he has already done so within 24 hours.

Thank you once again for your assistance, I appreciate it. I am sorry this is the route I had to take to get some resolution, but I'm grateful.

Keep doing your excellent work and providing your services to Jamaicans across the globe.

God bless you.

Thank you.

We wish you all the best.

Have a problem with a store, utility, a company? Telephone 876- 936-9436 or cell# 876-484-1349 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.


Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at http://bit.ly/epaperlive


ADVERTISEMENT




POST A COMMENT

HOUSE RULES

1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper � email addresses will not be published.

2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.

3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.

4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.

5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed: advertising@jamaicaobserver.com.

6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email: community@jamaicaobserver.com.

7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy



comments powered by Disqus
ADVERTISEMENT

Poll

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Today's Cartoon

Click image to view full size editorial cartoon
ADVERTISEMENT