TipsMay 29, 2021Is the NIS necessary if I’m already in an approved retirement scheme?

We know, we know, the fact that National Insurance Scheme (NIS) contributions contributions are compulsory for all working Jamaicans may not convince you of its value. This is especially true when so many bemoan the size of its pension payments.

All the same, you may be surprised to know that it punches above its value in benefits in ways that may surprise you.
What benefit is the NIS since I’m already a member of a pension plan?

The scheme’s principal benefit is an old age pension which is payable upon retirement or after the age of 65 years. However, those who have not yet reached the age of retirement are eligible for benefits paid in cases of employment injury, sickness, and invalidity once certain conditions are satisfied. This is particularly beneficial to women who tend to suffer from the onset of critical illness earlier than their male counterparts.

Other benefits offered include a funeral grant which can be accessed upon the death of an NIS contributor or pensioner. The grant is currently valued at $90,000.00 and is available in conjunction with a pension offered to the contributor’s widow or widower.

It should be noted however, that if contributions have been paid for less than 10 years prior to retirement, old age grants or lump sum are paid instead of pensions.

The Scheme also has a health insurance plan, the NI Gold, which provides medical coverage for all NIS pensioners. Pensioners automatically qualify for coverage once pension payments commence and the best thing about this, is that no premiums are paid by the pensioners! Health insurance is expensive and not many have individual coverage in retirement, so why not utilize this benefit that is being provided?

We are living longer and planning to do more in our later years. So why wouldn’t you want to combine your Approved Retirement Scheme or Approved Superannuation Plan(Pension Plan) benefits with those from the NIS. Seems like a good deal. Don’t you think?  Remember the adage “Every Mickle Mek a Muckle”, tells us that every little bit adds up to something meaningful.

Think of the 3-pillar pension system as a building block approach to retirement planning.The best plan has all three components:

  • NIS (a Social Security Scheme) which provides a basic pension and other retirement benefits
  • Your private pension plan/scheme (an Approved Superannuation Fund established by your employer or an Approved Retirement Scheme)
  • Additional personal savings to supplement the Pillars (i) and (ii).

For more information on your NIS benefits: National Insurance Scheme – Ministry of Labour and Social Security (