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State pension problems

TELL Claudienne

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Dear Claudienne,

I am urgently in need of your assistance. I do not know where else to turn. I worked with the Ministry of Labour and Social Security (MLSS) from October 2002 to June 2012. In 2012 I resigned from the ministry and applied for some benefits to which I was entitled upon my resignation. I refer specifically to my pension refund benefits.

I completed an application in 2012 and kept checking on the status.

In 2013 I was told that the ministry could not locate my application. I completed a second application in 2013 and sent it again to MLSS, and they confirmed receipt of my application. Whenever I made subsequent inquiries about the status of my application I was told that it had been sent to the Accountant General's Office for a breakdown/summary of the contributions.

My file is to be sent to the Ministry of Finance (MOF) for final processing so that I can get my benefits, but since 2012 this has not been done. I contacted the Ministry of Finance pensions department and spoke to the pensions administrator, but I was told to contact the MLSS because MOF did not have my file. Whenever I call MLSS, they are unable to give me an update on the status of my application.

Since 2012, I am supposed to be paid pension refunds (contributions that I made to the Widows and Orphans Benefit Fund that I used to make while I was employed). To date, this has not been done, and I do not know who to contact for assistance.

I am anxiously seeking your intervention.

NMB

Dear NMB,

Since you wrote us on August 31, 2015, we have been in communication with the Permanent Secretary (PS) of MLSS about your problem.

In an e-mail dated February 9, 2016, the administrative assistant to the PS informed Tell Claudienne of a lodgement to your account.

The e-mail stated: “Please be advised that the Ministry's Accounts Unithas advised that funds were lodged to the Jamaica National (JN) Port Antonio Branch on December 18, 2015.”

You checked your JN account in Port Antonio and informed Tell Claudienne that the $20,000 deposited by the ministry in your account was merely a small fraction of the salary deductions from your pay for Widows and Orphans contributions from 2004 to 2012.

On March 3, 2016 you sent us the following e-mail:

I was conducting a search for my pay slips in order to give you accurate information.

Listed below are the amounts that I contributed to the Widows and

Orphans benefits per year:

 

2004 $1006.89 per month

2005 $1032.00 per month

2006 $1329.00 per month

2007 $1430.37 per month

2008 $1686.04 per month

2009 $1686.04 per month

2010 $1686.04 per month

2011 $1686.04 per month

2012 $1686.04 per month

 

What I have done is to also attach for your attention a copy of the pay slips that I received per year for further proof of my contributions.

 

Since you worked as a civil servant for less than 10 years, Tell Claudienne next contacted the Finance Ministry pensions unit for an explanation as to why you had not been refunded the total amount of your contributions to the Widows and Orphans Benefit Fund in keeping with the law.

A spokesperson for the pensions unit of the Finance Ministry has informed us that government servants who resign after less than 10 years of service can apply for a refund of their contributions to the Widows and Orphans Benefit Fund. Persons who work over 10 years are not eligible for a refund as they then enter the vested period that makes them eligible for a pension.

When we asked the Finance Ministry's pensions unit to clarify the matter, they discovered that your name was not on their data base.

On our instructions, we note that you sent the e-mail listing your yearly contributions to the Widows and Orphans Benefit Fund to the pensions unit at the Finance Ministry and to MLSS.

Tell Claudienne has also been following up this matter with the Ministry of Labour and the Permanent Secretary at MLSS. The minister's personal assistant was also made aware of your problem.

We note that you are in communication with the MLSS and that in June you went to that ministry and had the status of declaration signed by a JP. (The declaration requires individuals to state if they are married and have children.)

The MLSS sent your documents to the Finance Ministry on June 20, 2017, but they were returned to the MLSS for the statutory declaration. The MLSS returned the documents and statutory declaration to the Finance Ministry on July 14, and your request for the full refund of your contributions to the Widows and Orphans Benefit Fund is now being processed.

Please let us know when you receive it.

Good luck.

Dear Claudienne

I am begging you for help with my Jamaica Public Service (JPS) bill. I am continuously being overcharged.

I had sent you some information before and now I am attaching the billfor you to see.

I had advised them by e-mail to suspend the electricity as I am out of the country, and as of today — August 17, 2017 - I received this bill. As you can see, they are still estimating the usage. The house is being supplied by SOLAR power.

I sent them a request to suspend the electricity by e-mail and also by registered mail. Suspension is to take effect as of July 17, 2017, and is to start back up on December 1st, 2017. I have also given them a tracking number for the registered mail.

 

HW

Dear HW,

Tell Claudienne has spoken to the JPS and they have sent us the following response:

Thanks for bringing this matter to our attention. We wish to apologise to HW for the delay he experienced with this request.

Checks with the Trelawny office have revealed that we had visited HW's premises in July to verify the reading that we had. However, we could not gain access to the premises. Based on his request, we have now disconnected the supply to his premises as of August 18.”

Good luck.

Have a problem with a store, utility or 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:edwardsc@jamaicaobserver.com. Please include a contact phone number.