Pensioners in the British Virgin Islands have received more than $18 million from the Social Security Board (SSB) within the first eight months of 2020, while more than 2,000 outstanding unemployment claims exist due to the negligence of employers.
This is according to the minister responsible for Social Security Vincent Wheatley who updated members of the House of Assembly on the latest statistics from the SSB.
On the Unemployment Benefit Programme, Minister Wheatley said more than 43 percent of the $10 million Unemployment Relief Fund has been paid out to successful applicants.
He said that up until September 17, a total of 3,457 persons received benefits while 2,117 claims were denied. The total amount paid out to recipients so far is $4,366,488.03.
Negligence of employers preventing payments
He further said 2,072 outstanding new claims exist at the SSB. The minister said this is partly due to the negligence of employers who failed to submit employee payments.
“I acknowledge that there are persons yet to receive a benefit, but this is not due to the lack of effort on behalf of Social Security Board. It is mainly due to the lack of salary information from employers,” Wheatley stated.
“There are hundreds of employers who continue to deduct from their employees and do not remit the contributions to the Board. These employers are also in violation of the Labour Code by not giving their employees pay-slips. Thus, this lack of information has led to the inability of the Social Security Board to calculate and pay benefits,” he explained.
In the meantime, the minister said that to date, 3,160 pensioners in the territory are receiving monthly payments.
“From January 1, 2020 to August 31, 2020, the Board paid $18,508,691.09 in pensions and $2,030,321.09 in short-term benefits. I am grateful to the visionaries who were responsible for the creation of this safety net for the people of this territory,” Wheatley stated.
He continued: “I cannot imagine the kind of life our seniors would have without their monthly pension cheques. I wish to note here that in anticipation of some sort of curfew, pensioners were paid early last month to ensure that they were able to purchase their necessities.”
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