Ask the NIS - FAQ
If you need more information after reading these FAQ contact the NIS directly. Click the links below to get answers to your questions. Can you check and tell me if my employer is paying my contributions?
After living in the United Kingdom for some twenty years, I have returned to Barbados with a little pension from
the U.K. Now I am told I do not qualify for a pension from National Insurance although there are a number of
foreigners receiving it. Do you think this is fair?
I was injured doing some house repairs at home and I am now receiving an Invalidity benefit. One of my former
work-mates is receiving a benefit called Disablement. He is receiving more money that I am and he is still
working. How is this possible?
Q: Can you check and tell me if my employer is paying my contributions?
A: No. The first three days are called waiting days and are deducted. If you should happen to claim another
benefit within 3 weeks these days will be paid to you.
Q: How long can a claim be kept before it is submitted and what happens if it is submitted after 4 days?
A: This depends on the type of claim. ” For sickness not later than 4 days from the earliest day that a claim is made ” For unemployment not later than 6 months from the date of termination of the claimant’s job ” For maternity benefit, with regard to expected confinement, 2 weeks beginning with the 8th contribution week before the one in which the pregnant woman expects to be confined or on leave. With regard to confinement, within the period of 3 weeks beginning with the date of confinement ” For maternity grant, invalidity benefit, old age contributory pension and grant and survivors’ benefits, the period of 3 months from the date on which, apart from satisfying the condition of making a claim, the claimant becomes entitled to the benefit ” For funeral grants, 6 months from the persons death.
Q: How soon after submission of a claim is money posted?
A: Once the form is properly completed and the contributions are paid in, processing will be made promptly.
Q: How is the benefit calculated, is it on the net or gross salary?
A: Depending on the benefit, a calculation is made on gross earnings up a maximum of $4,650.00 per month or
$1073.00 per week.
Q: Why does it take so long sometimes to receive benefit?
A: There are numerous factors that can prevent a claim from being processed. They range from the non-completion of claims, the non-payment of contributions, to no signature. As a result delays occur and a claim is not paid promptly.
The NIS is implementing new processes in the form of computer hardware/software to speed up processing but its success is dependent on the co-operation of the employer and the employee.
Q: For what length of time do I have to work in order to be eligible for Unemployment Benefit?
A: For Unemployment Benefit you must be between 16 and pensionable age. You must be insured for at least 52 weeks, have not fewer than 20 contributions, paid or credited in 3 consecutive quarters ending with the relevant quarter and have not fewer than 7 contributions paid or credited in the relevant quarter.
Q: I am an unemployed woman; can I still qualify for a maternity benefit?
A: It is possible to be unemployed and still qualify for a maternity benefit provided that:-
a) you have been insured for at least 26 contribution weeks; and
b) you must have paid at least 16 contributions in the two contribution quarters but one before the contribution quarter in which the benefit would become payable. For example, suppose you became unemployed on 1st October 2003 and qualified for unemployment benefit and your maternity benefit became payable in the first quarter (January to March) 2004. The quarters used by the National Insurance Office to determine whether or not you are eligible will be the 2nd and 3rd quarters of 2003, i.e. April to June and July to September. Please note, however, that once you qualify, you will receive only the maternity benefit since this will be at a higher rate (100% of average weekly insurable earnings). In other words you will not receive two benefits.
Q: If I have my baby overseas can I still get a maternity benefit?
A: Maternity benefit is not payable to a person who is out of the island unless that person has gone for the purpose of receiving medical attention.
Q: Would a miscarriage disqualify a woman from receiving a maternity benefit?
A: If a miscarriage occurs after twenty-eight (28) weeks of pregnancy, an insured person would still qualify to receive a maternity benefit once she has met the qualifying conditions as discussed in the answer to the first question. If the miscarriage occurs before 28 weeks the insured woman may be entitled to sickness benefit provided that she meets the qualifying conditions.
Q: Should my employer only pay my contributions when I am on full time employment with him?
A: No. Contributions should be deducted and submitted to the National Insurance Office for all employees who are receiving a minimum wage of $21.00 per week or $91.00 per month regardless of part-time, temporary, substitute, probationary or student/vacation employment.
Q: Can my employer deduct and submit contributions on my behalf without first obtaining a National Insurance number for me?
A: An employer is required to obtain a National Insurance card from a new employee on commencement of employment. Where the employer has not obtained such a card/he/she should obtain the national insurance number from the National Insurance Office within seven (7) days of the employee commencing work. If the number is not received within that period, the employer is still expected to submit contributions to the National Insurance Office on the new employee’s behalf in the specified time period or else a penalty for late payment may be incurred.
Q: Can my employer encourage or even force me into an arrangement to avoid submitting contributions to the
National Insurance Office?
A: An employer is required by law to deduct and submit contributions to the National Insurance Office for every employee who is earning a minimum of $21.00 per week or $91.00 per month and up to a maximum of $1073.00 per week or $4,650.00 per month. Contributions must be submitted on a monthly basis and in a timely manner to avoid a penalty. Each employee has the right to inquire at the National Insurance Office as to whether contributions are being made on his/her behalf.
Q: Can my employer re-classify my job as self-employment to have re responsible for my own National
A: The National Insurance legislation gives the responsibility to determine classification of employment status with respect to payment of contributions to the National Insurance Board. Such questions should be submitted to the Board for determination.
Q: Can I claim old age contributory pension while I am still working? If so, how long do I have to claim my pension?
A: Yes, you can claim old age contributory pension while you are still working. The regulation does not prohibit employed persons who have reached pensionable age from applying for their pension. You should submit your old age contributory claim to the National Insurance Office within three months of reaching the pensionable age. If your claim is late you may lose part of your pension.
Q: If I am the next of kin of a deceased person can I only claim a Funeral Grant and Survivors’ benefit?
A: Firstly, you can only claim a Funeral Grant if you are meeting the funeral expenses. Secondly, Survivors’ benefit can only be claim by the spouse and the children of the deceased person. If, however, the insured person had died as a result of an employment injury, a Death benefit would be payable instead of a Survivors’ and other persons who are adjudged to have been dependent on the earnings of the deceased at the time of death may be included.
Q: After living in the United Kingdom for some twenty years, I have returned to Barbados with a little pension from the U.K. Now I am told I do not qualify for a pension from National Insurance although there are a number of foreigners receiving it. Do you think this is fair?
A: Persons who are receiving pension from another government are disqualified from receiving a non-contributory pension. There are a number of qualifying conditions for receiving a non-contributory pension and therefore, being a Barbadian does not automatically qualify you for the pension.
Q: My boyfriend died, leaving me with three children. I just discovered that he was only separated from his wife,
and was not divorced. What benefit can I claim?
A: As your boyfriend was still legally married, you cannot claim a benefit as his spouse. However, you may claim a Survivors’ benefit on behalf of the children provided that there are under sixteen years of age or under 25 years of age and attending an approved educational institution.
Q: I was injured doing some house repairs at home and I an now receiving an Invalidity benefit. One of my former work-mates is receiving a benefit called Disablement. He is receiving more money that I am and he is still working. How is this possible?
A: An invalidity benefit is paid to persons who are unable to work because of a specific disease or bodily or mental ailment which is likely to remain permanent while a Disablement benefit is paid to persons who have suffered the loss of physical or mental faculty as a result of injury or industrial disease which arose out of or in the course of employment.
The amount payable weekly as Invalidity benefit is limited to a maximum of 60% of average weekly insurable earnings whereas the amount of Disablement benefit is based on the percentage of disability as determined by a medical panel, and can be as much as 90% of average weekly earnings in cases of 100% of loss.
Invalidity benefit is payable as long as invalidity continues but not beyond pensionable age when an Old Age Contributory pension is payable.
The period during which a Disablement benefit is payable is determined by the medical panel and the recipient can resume employment during this period.
Q: My employee is presently receiving Disablement benefit from the National Insurance Office, but he was
recently injured again on the job. Can he claim a second Disablement benefit?
A: Yes! Your employee can indeed claim a second disablement benefit. Where a person who is presently receiving a Disablement benefit suffers a second employment injury, he shall not be entitled to receive Injury benefit and Disablement benefit for the same period, but in assessing his degree of disablement in connection with the second or subsequent claims to Disablement benefit, the total degree of disablement arising from all the relevant injuries or diseases shall be assessed and he shall be entitled to Disablement based on that assessment.
Q: My employer had refused to give me a Termination Certificate for the last four weeks. Now that I have the
certificate, how long do I have to claim unemployment benefit?
A: On becoming unemployed a person must apply for benefit within two weeks of the date of termination of his/her services. This must be done whether or not a Termination Certificate has been provided by the employer at the time of termination. Therefore, having waited four weeks, you are already late in submitting your claim. Remember that unemployment benefits are payable not earlier than two weeks prior to the date of the claim so that a late claim may result in loss of part or whole benefit.
Q: Why can’t appointed government employees receive sickness or unemployment benefit after paying national insurance for many years?
A: Under Section 12 (2) and (3) of the National Insurance and Social Security Act appointed government employees are exempt from paying such contributions and therefore have no right to these benefits under the Scheme. Contributions paid by appointed government employees are in respect of all benefits with the exception of sickness and unemployment.
Q: Can you imagine that my child is very ill and I give up my job to take care of him and now I cannot receive any benefit – sickness or unemployment, why is this?
A: According to our regulations, you cannot receive sickness benefit since you have not been rendered incapable of work as a result of some specific disease or bodily or mental disablement; and you cannot receive unemployment benefit because your unemployment is voluntary and you are not available for work. Please note that according to the regulations, a person shall not be treated as unemployed unless he/she satisfies the Director that he/she is unemployed, capable of and available for work.
Q: I have a history of job-related illness, which has led to my employer finally terminating my services. Should I claim sickness or unemployment benefit?
A: Your entitlement to sickness benefit would have to be determined by a registered medical practitioner considering you to be incapable of work due to a specific disease or bodily or mental disablement even after you have become unemployed. You should however submit your claim for unemployment benefit provided that you are capable of and available for work but cannot obtain immediate employment elsewhere. If you qualify for both you will be paid for the one which is at the higher rate – in this case sickness benefit.
A: Your user ID is zero plus your NIS number
A: For employers, the User ID is the NIS number beginning with 9.
A: Click on the Get Support icon and follow the instructions provided on the screen. Write your problem in the space ‘note to administrator’ and submit it. The information will be sent to your e-mail address.