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Who is eligible for retirement benefit?

A person who has reached retirement age that is

- a man who is 65 years and over

- a woman who is aged 60 or over and who in either case has made the required National Insurance contributions and has ceased gainful employment permanently.

What happens if on reaching the above mentioned retirement age individuals do not retire but continue working?

They will continue to pay National Insurance while they remain in gainful employment until aged 65 (woman) or 70 (man).

What is difference between a pension and a grant?

A pension is payable for life and the pensioner receives fortnightly payments, while a grant is a lump-sum in one payment only.

Apart from age, what other qualifying conditions are there?

There is also a contribution qualification to be satisfied.

To qualify for a pension one must have paid a minimum of 156 weekly payments with an average of at least 13. When contributions are inadequate for a pension, a grant may be awarded provided the contributor had made a minimum 52 weekly contributions.

Does a widow /widower receive any special consideration when he/she claims retirement benefit?

Yes. A widow/widower who has made at lest 156 contributions but whose contributions would not be adequate to enable her/him to receive a pension may substitute her husband’s /his wife’s contribution for her/his provided such contributions were paid during the period of their marriage or three years (or more) union . This arrangement assists her/him in satisfying the contribution requirement for retirement pension

Can a person in receipt of a retirement or invalidity pension qualify for a widow’s/widower’s pension?

Yes. Since September 30, 1991, a person in receipt of Retirement or invalidity pension is also able to receive a widow’s/ widower’s pension providing qualifying conditions are satisfied.

Where are pensions paid?

At the post office of the claimants choice or any National Commercial Bank

How are benefits paid?

Payments are made through pension order books. Each book contains 13 vouchers and each voucher represents payment for two weeks.

How is a grant paid?

If your benefit is a grant then you will receive the payment in one lump-sum by a cheque.

What is the dependent spouse allowance?

A male as well as a female pensioner may be paid a spouse allowance if he/she supports a dependent spouse who is 55 (female) or 60 (male) years and over.

How is a benefit claimed?

Application for benefit is made on a special form supplied free of cost to all National

Insurance offices. A claim for retirement benefit can be submitted Four months before retirement accompanied by Birth Certificate or Passport and National Insurance number.

How are claims decided?

Claims for benefits are decided by independent adjudicators

These are:

- Insurance officers

- Local tribunals and

- Umpires

The claim is first considered by an Insurance Officer at the National Insurance head office. If the claimant is not satisfied with the decision of the Insurance Officer, he may appeal to the local tribunal. This tribunal is composed on an independent chairman and two members, one from a group of insured persons, the other from a group of employers. If the decision of the local tribunal still does not satisfy the claimant he may appeal finally to an umpire (who is an attorney- at-law ) appointed by the minister.

If the pensioner goes abroad will he still receive his pension?

Yes. Or the pensioner could name an agent (over 18 years of age) to collect the pension on his behalf while he is out of Jamaica.

Pensioners who reside abroad and who have not appointed a local agent to collect their pension are paid every six months by way of bank drafts in the currency of the country in which the pensioner resides. A life certificate accompanies each draft. It must be signed by the pensioner, notarized and returned.


NOTE: For forms and advice on all matters relating to the national insurance, please contact your national insurance office. Our courteous staff will be happy to help you.

There is a National Insurance office in each parish capital.


Who may claim widow / widower’s benefit?

The spouse of a deceased NIS contributor.

The spouse of a deceased NIS pensioner.

Persons who were living in a common-law union in which both parties were free to marry. Thus the following may claim:

a) A single woman/man who was living with a single man/woman who died.

b) A single woman/man who was living with a widower/widow.

c) A widow/widower who was living with a widower/widow.

d) A widow/widower who was living with a single man/woman.

How does a widow/widower qualify for the benefit?

A husband/wife must have paid at least 156 weekly contributions with an average of at least 13 per annum. Payment occurs under the following conditions:

  1. A full basic pension is payable where there is an annual average of 39 contributions or over.

  2. Reduced rates are payable where the annual average contribution falls below 39 but not less then 13.

  3. Where the required contributions for a pension have not been paid, the Widow/widower may be awarded a grant, provided that at least 52 contributions were paid.

  4. Where the deceased was a pensioner the contribution conditions are deemed to be satisfied.

In addition to the contribution qualification, one qualifies for a widow/ widower’s benefit if at least one of the following conditions is satisfied;

  1. He/She has been married for at least three years and is 55 years old or over; or

  2. In the case of a woman she is pregnant by her late spouse; or

  3. He/She is married for at least three years and is permanently incapable of work; or

  4. He/She is caring for a child of the late spouse. The child must be under age 18.

If the applicant does not satisfy any of these conditions, but had been married for at least three years, he/she will receive the pension for one year.

How does the widow/ widower claim benefit?

A widow/ widower who is making a claim for a benefit must fill out the Benefit form, this form is obtained from any National Insurance local office.

What document should accompany the application?
  1. Marriage certificate ( if any);

  2. Birth certificate;

  3. Birth certificate of the youngest child (under 18);

  4. Medical certificate ( if pregnant);

  5. National Insurance Pension book (if any) belonging to the late spouse.

What is the benefit?

A pension or Grant.

A pension continues for life if at the spouse’s death, the widow/ widower is 55 years old.

A grant is a lump-sum awarded in only one payment.

How much is the benefit?

The pension or grant consist of a basic as well as additional portion depending on whether the deceased insured person had paid additional contributions. The rate varies from time to time.

Where and how are benefits paid?

Pensions are paid at the post office selected by the pensioner or at any National Commercial Bank. Payments are made by pension books, each containing 13 vouchers. Each voucher represents payment for two weeks.


A grant is a cheque.

What can be done if dissatisfied with the award?

If the claimant is not satisfied with the amount awarded he/ she may appeal through the local office.

Will the benefit be paid if the pensioner goes abroad?

Yes. Depending on the length of his/her visit payment may be made locally to an agent or sent directly to him/her.

If a Pensioner remarries would it affect the pension?

Yes. The Main qualifying conditions would cease to exist. The same applies if a common law relationship was entered into. However, a lump-sum payment amounting to pensions for 52 weeks would be paid. If the entitlement is a one year pension a lump-sum payment for the remainder of the twelve month period would be made.

Can a pension in receipt of widow’s/ widower’s pension qualify for retirement pension?

Yes. Providing the relevant contribution conditions are satisfied. This came into effect September, 1991.


To whom the benefit is payable?

Invalidity benefit may be paid to:

  1. a man who is under 65 years

  2. a woman who is under 60 years who can no longer work due to mental or physical illness.

How does a claimant qualify for the benefit?

A person claiming invalidity benefit must have been incapable of work for a continuous period of at least 26 weeks before the date of his claim. A doctor must certify that incapacity is likely to be permanent. He must have also satisfied the relevant contribution requirements.

What are the contribution conditions?

To qualify for a full pension the claimant must have maintained a payment of 39 contributions in each year. If the average is less than n39 but not less than 13, the claimant will qualify for a reduced pension.

A grant may be awarded if the contribution falls below the minimum required for pension, provided the claimant had paid

Is there any payment for dependent spouse?

Yes. A male as well as female pensioner may be paid a spouse allowance if he/she supports a dependent spouse who is aged 55 or over.

How and where are benefits paid?

Benefits are paid at the post office of the insured person’s choice or any national commercial bank. Pensions are paid by pension order books, each of which contains 13 vouchers, each representing payments for two weeks.

A grant is a lump sum payment made by cheque.

How does one claim invalidity benefit?

The claimant completes the claim form supported by the completed medical certificate on application form. When making a claim the birth certificate or passport and the claimant’s national insurance numbers are to be submitted. However if these are not immediately available, the claim should still be made.

How are claims decided?

Claims for benefit are decided by independent adjudicators.

These are:

- Insurance officers

- Local tribunals and

- Umpires

Will payment be made if the pensioner goes abroad?

If he goes for medical treatment he will continue to be paid as if he were in Jamaica. However, if he goes for purpose other than medical treatment, his pension will be suspended for not more than 12 months of the period that he is away from Jamaica. After the period of suspension the pension will be fully restored. The pensioner will then receive the lump sum cash accumulated during the time when payments were suspended followed by regular bi-annual payments.

The pensioner may choose instead to collect his pension through an agent of his choice while he is out of Jamaica.

Note: The leaflet is only a general guide. It must not be treated as a complete and authoritative statement of the law. If after reading it, you are in doubt on any point, or if you have difficulty in filling in your claim form, consult your national insurance office. Our courteous staff will be happy to help you.

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