The importance of National Insurance Scheme (NIS) – Jamaica Business 101


What is NIS?

NIS is a compulsory contributory funded social security scheme, which offers financial protection to the worker and his family against loss of income arising from injury on job, incapacity, retirement, and death of the insured.


What are the benefits

The benefits are:

  • RetirementPersons eligible for Old Age Benefit, must have reached retirement age, that is:
    1. A man – age 65 years and over;
    2. A woman – an increase in the retirement age from 60 years to 65 between April 1, 2011 to March 1, 2016 and over.
  • Widows’/Widowers’Persons eligible for a Widow’s or Widower’s Benefit are:
    1. A spouse who has been married for at least three years and whose partner has died;
    2. A spouse who has been in a common-law union for at least 5 years and whose partner has died.

    The following persons may also claim:

    i. A single woman/man who was living with a single man/woman.

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

    1. A widow/widower who was living with a widower/widow
  • InvalidityAn Invalidity Benefit may be awarded as a pension or grant to the contributor. It is paid to a woman under 60 years or a man under 65 years who is no longer able to work because of a mental or physical illness.

    This benefit is paid to a contributor who has been incapable of working for a continuous period of not less than 26 weeks before the date of the application and the incapacity must seem to be permanent. All applicants for an invalidity benefit must have the Medical Certificate on the Invalidity Claim Form completed and signed by his/her doctor. A person in receipt of an Invalidity or an Old Age pension may be paid a Spouse Allowance whether married or in a common-law union.

  • Special ChildA Special Child’s Benefit may be claimed by any adult caring for a child under 18 years, whose mother is dead and whose father is dead or cannot be identified. The benefit may also be payable if the whereabouts of the father is unknown.

    The mother of the child must have paid a minimum of 156 weekly contributions, with an annual average of 13 contributions. The child must also have been living with and supported mainly by her.

    A Special Child’s Benefit is payable from the date of death of the mother to the child’s 18th birthday.

  • OrphanAn Orphan’s Benefit may be claimed by any adult who has the care of a child under 18 years old, whose parents are dead, regardless of whether the parents were married.

    An Orphan’s Benefit is payable from the date on which the child became an orphan until his/her 18th birthday.

    To qualify for this Benefit, one of the deceased parents:

    i. Must have satisfied the contribution conditions or

    ii. Was in receipt of a National Insurance Old Age, Invalidity, Widow’s or Widower’s Pension

  • Employment Injury BenefitsEmployment Injury Benefit is payable to all employed persons, female between 18 and 65 years and male between 18 and 70 years, if they are injured during the course of the insurable employment or develop a prescribed disease attributable to the nature of the insurable employment.

    There are three (3) exceptions are:

      1. Members of the Jamaica Defence Force, and
      2. Domestic Workers.
      3. Self-employed

    A contributor who is submitting a claim for employment injury benefit must have suffered a personal injury caused by an accident on the job, or developed a prescribed disease from the type of work he/she does. These diseases are listed in the National Insurance (Prescribed Diseases) Regulations of 1970.

  • Anniversary PensionersThe Special Anniversary Pension was introduced on September 30, 1991 to commemorate the 25th Anniversary of the National Insurance Scheme.

    Conditions for qualifying for this Benefit are:

    • The claimant must not be in receipt of any other National Insurance Pension and
    • The claimant should have been born on or before January 1906
  • Funeral GrantA Funeral Grant is payable on the death of:
    • a contributor or his/her spouse
    • persons who were in receipt of Old Age, Invalidity, Widows/Widowers, Disablement and Sugar Workers Pension (with the exception of the Special Anniversary Pensioners)
    • persons whose death resulted from employment injury or from one of the prescribed diseases

    The following persons may claim a Funeral Grant:

    • The Executor/Administrator
    • The Legatee
    • The Next-of-Kin
    • The person or persons who paid the funeral expenses
    • The persons or persons who undertake to pay
    • Other

    A Funeral Grant must be claimed within one (1) year of the date of death.

    A Funeral Grant is payable if the deceased or his/her spouse had:

      1. Made at least 26 weekly contributions in the 52 weeks immediately before the date of death, or
      2. Made at least 52 weekly contributions in the 24 month period before date of death, or
      3. Qualified to receive old age or invalidity pension at the date of death
  • NI Gold Health PlanThe NI Gold Health Plan is an innovative health care programme for pensioners under the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) that came into effect December 2003.

    The benefits include:

    • Doctor’s Visits
    • Prescription Drugs
    • Diagnostic Services
    • Dental/Optical Services
    • Surgeon’s Fee
    • Hospital Room & Board

    Below is a table outlining the benfits and conditions


    Hospital Room & Board
    per night
    Hospital Miscellaneous
    per disability
    Hospital Outpatient
    per disability
    Surgeon’s Fee
    per procedure (co-pay $1,000)
    Assistant Surgeon’s Fee
    per procedure (co-pay $500)
    Anesthetist’s Fee
    per procedure (co-pay $500)
    Doctor’s Visit
    maximum 1 per day
    referral only (per visit)
    Dental & Optical
    per year (co-pay 10%)
    Diagnostic Services
    per year (co-pay 10%)
    Prescription Drugs
    per year (co-pay 10%)


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