PENSIONERS gathered outside NIB as they attempted to verify their benefits earlier this month.
Photo: Donovan McIntosh/Tribune Staff
By EARYEL BOWLEG
Tribune Staff Reporter
THE National Insurance Board yesterday announced a grace period has been approved for long-term benefit verifications.
NIB said the verification date for all people aged 60 and over (for all benefits, including retirement, invalidity and disability) has been extended to July 1, 2021.
Meanwhile, all people under the age of 60 who are in receipt of survivors benefits as well as for all long-term beneficiaries who reside overseas have until March 31.
The agency also said NIB will no longer perform face to face verifications during the grace period and the needed forms can be picked up or dropped off by another individual (ie other than the beneficiary) or emailed to NIB at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Persons who have had a change in circumstance that impacts their continued eligibility for the long-term benefit should continue to notify NIB via email (verification@ nib-bahamas.com) as soon as possible (ie change in marital status, children no longer enrolled in school, increase in incomes beyond the allowed levels, etc).”
The press statement read: “NIB continues to encourage its customers to utilise the non-face to face mechanisms to complete their pension verification, as follows: a pastor, priest, senior government official, lawyer, magistrate, medical doctors licenced in The Bahamas, or justice of the peace are considered sanctioned authorities for the purpose of confirming that the customer has completed the verification form.
“The form, signed by the sanctioned authority, can then be dropped off or emailed to NIB without the need to wait; or retirement verifications can be completed online via the Registrant Self-Service portal (RSS).”
NIB also said the designated “sanctioned authority” is not responsible for confirming the “correctness or truthfulness of the statements on the verification form”. The customer/beneficiary remains solely liable for the correctness and truthfulness of the statements on the form.
The Tribune reported earlier this month that a line of pensioners had crowded outside NIB’s headquarters for pension verification as they tried to get the process completed ahead of the January 15 deadline to avoid interruption in benefit payments.
NIB also said: “NIB had embarked on a process over the last few weeks to ensure that all recipients of long-term benefits (ie retirement, disability, survivors, etc) were in compliance with the National Insurance legislation which mandates verification of continued eligibility of the respective benefit twice per year.
“Since the COVID-19 pandemic, NIB halted most of its face-to-face operations, including in-person pension verifications, but continued to receive emailed and drop-box verifications. Many customers continued to provide their verifications in this manner and remained in compliance with the National Insurance legislation.
“However, many customers had not verified in 2020, and therefore a special exercise was being conducted to verify those customers to ensure their continued eligibility for their benefits.”