NIS payments moving online in September
FROM September 1 2020, the National Insurance Department will no longer be printing cheques for short term benefits such as unemployment, maternity and sickness. Transactions will be paid electronically.
This was announced on Saturday night by Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley as she delivered the featured address at the National Insurance Scheme’s Virtual Awards Ceremony held in celebration of the NIS’ 53rd anniversary.
During the ceremony, Prime Minister Mottley made the point that members who still depend on these cheques are particularly vulnerable particularly against the backdrop of the global COVID 19 pandemic.
Prime Minister Mottley stated that a request is being made for persons who registered with the department, to submit their banking details to receive their payments electronically. “I am giving you this leeway and notice because those who have difficulties securing bank accounts or credit union accounts, need to come forward to the National Insurance Department and we will run the necessary public service announcements to ensure that this happens.”
“But if you come forward and indicate the difficulties that you are experiencing then we will be in a position to be able to meet your concerns while at the same time meeting the absolute imperative of transitioning.”
The Prime Minister said direct deposits have been regularly promoted with notices in both the traditional and social media. “And I commend the department for offering the electronic services such as payment by debit or credit card or online portal or direct deposit to your Contributions’ bank account. And in the future we hope through electronic money wallets for those without the bank accounts to which I just referred.”
“We can move to the next level. This department was formed one year after I was born. And I have seen many changes in my life and I know that this Department can also see changes in its functioning because we need to be able to be more efficient in meeting our client class.”
“I hope that there will be a seamless transition therefore to the electronic payments and we will be working with the digital ambassadors of the Ministry of Innovation Science and Technology to help anyone switch over in the event that they need such assistance.”
Prime Minister Mottley gave the assurance that the government also remains committed to the digital transformation of Barbados with the aim of improving the quality of service and efficiency everywhere.
She pointed out that NIS staff are on the frontline of this challenge. “You are the largest issuer of cheques on the island with approximately 70 000 cheques being issued every month, with pensioners receiving the largest value. We must transform.”
“We have for more than 20 years, offered the option to lodge pensions to bank accounts. And this option would allow pensioners to receive all four weeks pension in one payment instead of the two ... two-week intervals for those receiving cheques.”
“The Department also facilitates four week lodgements to pensioners with accounts at all the major credit unions, similarly increasing numbers of existing pensioners are registering to switch to the direct deposit option and we encourage more to do so.”
“All new pensioners will be required to provide bank or credit union accounts data for the lodging of their pension payments going forward. But the change has been a little too slow. And we now know why we need to accelerate,” she said. (JH)