Senior Minister and Minister responsible for Social Security, the Honourable Vance Amory. SKNIS Photo

Pensioners in St. Kitts and Nevis will see an increase in benefits this month when they collect their Social Security cheques, Senior Minister and Minister responsible for Social Security, the Honourable Vance Amory, indicated during a sitting of the National Assembly Thursday.

The decision to raise pensions was made at a meeting of the St. Christopher and Nevis Social Security Board Dec. 12. The changes will take effect in late January, and will be applied to age, invalidity, and survivor’s pensioners, he said.

“Persons who became pensionable in 2015 or before [will] receive a five percent increase, while persons becoming pensionable in 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019 will see increases of four percent, three percent, two percent and one percent respectively and will be based on the year that the pensioner qualified for the pension,” Senior Minister Amory said, adding “persons at the maximum pension as at Dec. 31, 2019, will also receive the increase based on their year of qualification.”

There are a total of 4,375 persons receiving an age pension, 857 receiving a senior survivor pension, 356 receiving an invalidity pension, 56 receiving a disablement pension, 21 receiving a disablement pension survivor’s, and two receiving a constant care pension.

The increases will cost an extra $268,422 per month, or $3.2 million per year. The annual payout from the Social Security Fund for 2020 will be $99,272,510 to persons receiving age, invalidity, and survivor’s pensions.

Senior Minister Amory expressed the increase in pensions is a testament to the strength of the Social Security Fund as outlined in the Report of the Twelfth Actuarial Review of the St. Christopher and Nevis Social Security Fund as of Dec. 31, 2017, and the government is committed to ensuring those who receive pensions or benefits can keep abreast of changes in the cost of living.