Hamilton: Social Security at 44 remains strong 

Honourable Eugene Hamilton, Minister with responsibility for Social Development and Gender Affairs congratulated the award's winners for their contributions to their community.
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As Social Security in St Kitts and Nevis celebrates its 44th Anniversary, Minister Eugene Hamilton has said that the fund remains strong despite many challenges, and remains resilient for all in times of need. 

Delivering an address on Tuesday, 1st February 2022 –  the 44th anniversary of the St Christopher and Nevis Social Security Board’s establishment – Hamilton reflected that over the last 44 years, Social Security has solidified itself as the premier pillar of society, providing pecuniary benefits to the insured in situations such as sickness, maternity, employment injury and in old age, amongst others. 

“All insured persons can rely with confidence on the ability of the Social Security Fund to pay benefits. This could not be achieved without the appropriate measures for sound financial management and administration.”

He reminded that apart from the fund’s primary objective to pay benefits, it has demonstrated time and time again its thrust to ensure the sustainability of the economy, through its various corporate social responsibility programmes. 

“Annual donations to health and national security, capital investment in local development projects, support to youth programmes and NGOs, all add value to the core function of social security.

 “A major show of solidarity in 2020 was the initiation and rollout of the COVID-19 Relief Fund, where over 8500 persons were provided with the COVID-19 grants to the tune of over $23 million.”

Hamilton revealed that in 2021, Social Security again stepped up to support families whose income was further interrupted by the second wave of the COVID-19 outbreak, in St. Kitts and Nevis. 

“Social Security in collaboration with Ram’s Supermarkets and Valu Mart provided financial support of $275,000 in food vouchers through the Food Vouchers Initiative of the Ministry of Social Services and NEMA. This level of support is outside the usual scope of Social Security benefits, but it underscores the importance of Social Security, not only in normal times, but also in times of crisis.”

Hamilton said that although there are growing challenges of a maturing fund and the intricacies of changing demographics, Social Security “continues to grow and maintain the fund as a strong and resilient safety net for all who depend on the fund to meet its obligations”.

“As responsible administrators of the fund, it is equally important to improve upon the current financial infrastructure; implement transformational reforms aimed at increasing the longevity of the Fund, and continue to be a reliable corporate partner through the next 44 years and beyond.”

Hamilton said that going forward it is important to reflect on the past, and move ahead with renewed vigour to advance the products and services provided by Social Security

He also revealed the figures of some of the work done by Social Security in 2021: – 659 New Age Pensioners guaranteed monthly benefits; 88 New Invalidity Claimants guaranteed monthly support; 145 New Survivors Pensioners approved for monthly benefits including spouses, dependent parents, and children, and a total benefit expenditure for the year amounting to $120,816,494.68.

 “Not only do these figures magnify the level of support to the insured in times of need, it also underscores the equal importance for both employers and the self-employed to remain compliant and meet their obligations to the fund. It requires all hands on deck, dutifully committing to the long-term goal of financial soundness and sustainability. Any other approach would be counterproductive,” Hamilton stated.

 He also urged all stakeholders to pay keen attention to their social security matters and to ascribe to their rights and obligations as insured persons.

 “I pray for God’s continued blessings on the fund, the administrators, the Economy, and our government and all of our people, so that the mission to provide the best possible benefits is achieved for generations to come.”

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