Government announced new fiscal measures to further assist individuals now that close to 5,000 residents have put in claims to withdraw up to $12,000 from their pensions, to the tune of $10,955,501.
Speaking at the latest COVID-19 briefing on Tuesday, Finance Minister Curtis Dickinson said another 40 residents put in claims to withdraw up to 25 percent of their pension account balances.
The total value of the 38 applications approved was $857,292.
The Minister noted that the National Pension Scheme (Occupational Pensions) Act 1998 was “amended to permit a person under the age of 65, and has not retired, who participates in a private, defined contribution pension plan or local retirement product, to voluntarily withdraw up to $12,000, from the period that the Act was brought into force on June 1st until 30th June, 2021″.
To date, a total of 4,897 applications were received – 972 were approved.
Following “numerous requests from the public”, he said: “Additional amendments will be made to the National Pension Scheme (Occupational Pensions) Act 1998 and respective regulations to increase the scope of coverage and provide additional access to plan members.”
Those changes include:
- removing the requirement for a member not to be retired for those seeking a $12,000 refund
- removing the requirement for persons to be retired for those seeking a 25% refund; and
- removing the requirement for persons to be retired for those seeking a small pension refund
“The Government recognizes persons with financial need should not be restricted based upon whether they have retired or not,” said Mr Dickinson.
“The main criteria in the types of refunds I have just mentioned should be whether they have met the age requirement or not. It is intended that these legislative amendments will be made in the current legislative session.”
The Act will be “further amended to allow for a suspension of employee and employer contributions for a twelve month period commencing July 1, July, 2020 and ending on June 30, 2021.
“The Bill will be debated on Friday June 19th in the House of Assembly. Participating employees will benefit from a 5% increase in their take-home pay.
“Amendments to the Contributory Pensions Act 1970 will also be made to allow for employees, employers, and self-employed persons to suspend payment of their social insurance contributions for the whole of the suspension period (July 1st, 2020 – June 30th, 2021).
“This proposal will provide further relief to employees ($35.92 per week / $143.68/month),” he added.
“The Bill will be also be debated on Friday June 19th in the House of Assembly.”
- Top Feature Photo Courtesy of TNN