BVI News

Study finds that SSB’s $40M grant to gov’t will not affect its sustainability — Premier

An actuary study conducted by Canada-based firm Morneau Shepell Incorporated concluded that the $40 million grant from the Social Security Board (SSB) for government’s Economic Stimulus-Response Plan will not affect the future sustainability of the territory’s social security.

This is according to Premier Andrew Fahie who made that statement during a national radio broadcast on ZCCR radio on Tuesday.

The Premier shed light on the study after saying there were concerns raised by some residents who questioned why government had taken nearly 64 percent of the total $62.9 million Economic Stimulus Plan from the SSB.

“Will it be around for us when we retire? Well, the answer is ‘yes’ because we also had, thanks to the Social Security, been doing an actuary study to assess the life and the feasibility of if we take this money for the unemployment grant and other grants if it will still be sustainable,” he stated.

“It is important to highlight that the study found that the Social Security Board has the financial strength to support our well-designed targeted income support programme to workers,” adds Fahie who is also the Minister of Finance.

Unemployed urged to register at SSB

Of the $40 million allocated to the stimulus plan, $10 million was geared towards an Unemployment Relief Support initiative for persons who have been either laid off or placed on reduced working time because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Premier encouraged unemployed residents to contact the SSB and complete an application which is now available to the public.

“Persons are advised to get those forms from the Social Security Board and complete them along with the supporting evidence, and to submit promptly to allow for timely evaluation and disbursement of funds once approved,” Fahie said.

The Premier said the documentation provided by residents is essential in maintaining transparency and accountability within the programme.

The compensation provided under the Unemployment Relief Support will not exceed more than three months.

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29 Comments

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Who conducted that study, the blah blah man and friends?

    Like 13
    Dislike 3
    • Really says:

      How much money does the SSB have and how is it invested to continue its growth. How about publishing this with actuarial tables so that all can see the stability. Not just the chosen few.

      Like 11
      Dislike 1
  2. vip heckler says:

    Who conducted that study, the blah blah man and friends?

    Like 6
    Dislike 2
  3. Please share says:

    The study and the annual report so we can read this ourselves thank you very much!

    Like 8
    Dislike 2
  4. yolo says:

    why is the government taking our retirement money with out asking the people what happen if they can’t pay it back the arrow money from bank go back to the bank stop touching my money SSB should never aloud this to happen i sure the other millions they borrow from SSB have they pay that back????

    Like 10
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    • @yolo says:

      At least you getting transparency from the Government. Did you know when the NDP took $15 million dollars from Social Security Board to get National Bank of the Virgin Islands out of debt. To this day National Bank is a liability to Social Security Board. You won’t have anything to talk until you know how badly NDP was using social security money. Give the government a break now they tell what them doing with the money. It about time SSB help the people.

      Like 9
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      • @yolo says:

        The 15mil was an INVESTMENT in the bank not a grant. Read to understand not just to respond.

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        • @@yolo says:

          Investment you say lord have mercy on my vi. The national bank of the Virgin Islands is a complete failure. It’s survival depends on the social security board. So let me ask why the survival of the unemployed due to Covid19 can’t depend on social security board?

        • @@yolo says:

          Did you miss the part that says National Bank of the Virgin Islands is a liability to the Social Security Board? It costing more than what the social security board is using to help the unemployed. Stay awoke. Don’t be conned by the National Democratic Party.

      • lilly says:

        what makes you think that only you know that government LOAN NDP $15M.

        Government has to be very careful with the giving away of SSB funds which has a specific purpose. It seems to me like Government needs to amend the SSB Act to take account of unemployed. This would allow for us to pay something towards unemployment while we work because as it is now we are paying towards sickness and retirement and using it for something else.

        What is strange to me is that hours were decreased in some organization from 40 hours a week to 30 hours a week, and I am hearing that those affected could file for assistance from Gov. from the SSB grant funds. It seems to me like it would have made more sense for Government to loan those establishments the SSB money to assist them with ensuring their employees could work 40 hours as opposed to now offering them free money. There must be a motive behind this initiative because some of these organizations have received loans from Government in the past. Just wondering!!!!!

    • Ning says:

      I am pretty sure it is a grant, not a loan. SSB ain’t getting that money back!

      Like 11
    • @yolo says:

      What part of SOCIAL SECURITY you don’t understand. Social is for the protection of the people. Security is securing the future of the people. Absolutely nothing wrong with helping a destitute man. Its called planning for the future. Social Security is healthy to help because the same people who need help now supplied it. I don’t see what the fuss about than a malicious conman looking attention and all you falling for the bait.

  5. OH says:

    There are a generation of people who cant stand to see other people have money. They just have this psychological weakness of entitlement. Many Governments in BVI for years now have their eyes trained on the Social Security funds . Somebody better make it clear that that money belongs to the people retired security. It is not to be taken by the younger generations to squander. By the sweat of a mans brow he shall eat bread. Let them go to the banks and work to build wealth . Give the people who have over time invested in the SS trust fund the returns on their investment . They deserve a retirement in splendor and high quality of life. They have earned it.
    I don’t trust no report because they cannot predict the viability of the world’s economies with the type of leaders we have. You think CoVid is bad try a world war. Leave SS fund alone for the retirees and their heirs.

    Like 20
    • @oh says:

      As you said the SSB money is to help the people. If they didn’t do anything all you would cuss. For once the money is not going to pay bad debts and all you making noise. What hypocrisy. Do you prefer a nice loan guarantee and a soft take over from the UK? I say allow the Social Security Board to empower the people.

  6. Snoppy says:

    Can’t you read: ‘the $40 million grant ‘

    Grant = gift. Not a loan. AF and his goons aren’t goig to pay it back.

    Like 15
  7. Deh Plane Land says:

    But $7MIL will sink it. Who ayo trying to fool. Strupes

    Like 3
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  8. What Determines Eligibility says:

    If for example 10 out of 25 companies regularly pay their monthly contributions to SSB to ensure their staff’s coverage are paid up, how could Government decide to use monies of those who have contributed to pay those who have not?

    I would hope that the criteria to determine whether they are in Good Standing (contributions all paid up) comes in play when determining eligibility.

    Persons who contributed and in good standing should not be placed at a disadvantage and their funds should be readily available without delay when requested apart from the current stimulus.

    • Right says:

      ….but! The govt is essentially govt money with the grant so SSB are only effectively managing the benefit scheme using the said funds. I dont think it will be based on contributions being up to date. If thats the case many wont get any assistance. This is NOT an SSB benefit but a govt program for affected employees so it will be interesting to see whether they reject persons whose ssb payments are not up to date.

  9. Disinterested says:

    Some of our regional sister countries governments have raided social security trust fund to fund operations and maintenance requirements. The money has not been paid back and there is uncertainty and fear currently among many retirees wondering if they are going to get their monthly checks. It is an open secret that one can find a consultant to support any cause the customer wants. As a doctor is dedicated to a patient, a lawyer loyal to a client so too a consultant to a customer.

    Typically, a social security retiree collects more than he/she pays into the system. Social security takes contributions from employees and employers and invest some of it to to attain and sustain solvency to pay beneficiaries.

    In the early years of social security, there were more workers than retirees. Over time, the ratio of workers to retirees decline and will continue to decline. To maintain stability, there must be a minimum number of workers to support 1 retiree. Perhaps, social security can tell us what that ratio is. Undoubtedly, as the number of workers decrease and the number of retirees increase, social security may struggle to pay beneficiaries. That $40M invested in relatively safe instruments could have gone a long way to maintaining solvency.

    Further, a SS Retiree on another site noted that if social security is flushed with cash and can give a $40M grant to government, it can perhaps can lower employee and employer contributions and pay a higher annuity to retirees.

    Finally, it appears as if the VI now joined other regional countries in raiding the social security trust fund. Which ministry is over social security? This one is on it.

    Like 10
    • @disinterested says:

      You should have known all this when $15 million was taken from Social Security Board to pay bad debt for the national bank of the Virgin Islands.

      Like 1
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      • @@Disinterested says:

        @@Disinterested, at $15M here and $40M there, pretty soon we will be talking about some serious cash. How long before the social security reserves are depleted and payout to beneficiaries will come only from employee and employer contributions. And we know the worker to retiree ratio is decreasing. The trust funds from which old-age, survivor and disability pensions are made must be built up to a longer probabilities frontier.

        Where does the social security revenue come from? Contributions from employees and employers that is currently at a combined 8.5%. and interest earned on demand deposits. However, this 8.5% may be too high to maintain social security stability. Stability overly maintained, perhaps beneficiaries can be blessed an increased in their monthly stipends. How can social security say that it cannot afford an increased when it just drop a $40M grant, not a loan, on government. Can the Social Security Board put a copy of its 2019 Annual Report on line?

    • Says Who says:

      “Typically, a social security retiree collects more than he/she pays into the system. Social security takes contributions from employees and employers and invest some of it to to attain and sustain solvency to pay beneficiaries.”

      THIS CAN ONLY BE TRUE IN SOME CASES.

  10. Right says:

    Let an independent auditor tell us this! Fisherman own fish never never stink!

  11. MJ says:

    This seems wrong. SSB pensioners are struggling. If it is so sustainable, increase the pensions, and make known what the full pension and the average pensions are please.

  12. Eagle & Buffalo says:

    Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1), MoF, actuarial study conducted, show us the study so that we can read it for ourselves. In the interest of transparency as you preach, release the study with the same eagerness to release the Auditor General’s BVI Airways Report. It is not a lack of trust; it is just that we want to verify what we are being fed. Trust but verify.

    Additionally, this would be an opportune time to release a report on the health of social security. Instead of a $40M grant, why did not government borrow the money from social security? The debt to GDP ratio is well below the 40% recommenced by the experts for developing countries as prudent; This number can be temporarily exceeded without harming growth and development. The territory has the capacity to prudently borrow. Social security is not a piggy bank to be raided for government convenience.

    This behaviour has put social security programmes in some other regional neighboring countries in peril. Raiding social security put the poor, the least among us, that needs the help the most in retirement ……etc in distress. Raiding social security for huge grants is akin to using contractors, suppliers…..etc to fund government, ie, taking an eternity to pay them. As a people, we must be willing to fund the government we desire. We cannot expect to drink champagne on beer money. Social security contributors and beneficiaries should not be asked to fund government; government can borrow from their contributions,

    Moreover, in another article on another site, the Hon Vincent Wheatley(R9), MNRLI and the minister whose portfolio also includes social security was berating the Hon Marlon Penn (R8), Leader of the Opposition, for enquiring about the$40M social security grant. He posited that social security has always given grants. True, in the past, social security has granted grants. However, the honorable member was perhaps a bit disingenuous. To my knowledge, no other grant was of this magnitude was ever granted. Hopefully, in the near term and in the offing is a planned significant increase for social security recipients or a decrease in employee and employer contribution rates.

    [Let’s lead like eagles, not careen off the cliff like eagles]

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