NIC extends economic relief

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NIC extends economic relief

(PRESS RELEASE) — The National Insurance Corporation’s Economic Relief Programme (ERP) is being extended beyond June 2020.

The National Insurance Corporation (Economic Relief Programme for COVID 19) (Amendment) Regulations, 2020, which authorized the extension was published in the Gazette on June 30, 2020.

While the programme was for an initial period of three months, it was always the intention of the NIC to consider extending the programme once the qualifying conditions were met.

The NIC considered the ongoing adverse impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the business sector and the employees who contribute to the NIC. Realizing that a significant number of our contributors would require some relief over the next three months, the NIC then considered the affordability of the programme.

The decision to implement ERP was made after having taken into account actuarial input to ensure that the long-term financial sustainability of the NIC was not compromised.

The final cost of the programme for the six months is now not expected to exceed $80 million which was the projected maximum (worst case scenario) cost for the three months from April to June.

The extension of the ERP will now cover the additional months of July, August and September. The amounts payable under the ERP remain unchanged. The NIC will continue to pay 50% of monthly salary subject to a maximum payment of $1,500 and a minimum of $500 and subject to deduction of money received from the employer for the period of payment.

Claimants who previously applied for the ERP are not required to reapply. However, employers are required to provide updated information in the Employer Portal on the NIC website on the status of their employees.

The ERP was first announced on April 9, 2020 as the NIC’s response to help workers navigate the economic hardship arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The legislative amendments which gave the NIC the authority to execute the programme was published on April 24, 2020. Within a few weeks, the NIC had mapped out processes, upgraded existing systems and developed new ones from the ground up to support the management of the ERP.

Since then the NIC has:
– Processed over 21,000 applications
– Made over 18,500 payments to individuals at an average of $830.16 per payment
– Paid a grand total of $15,367,932 to qualifying applicants

The NIC urges contributors to be patient with us as we seek to resolve those matters which delay the processing of some applications. These could be any of several factors including:

– Inconsistency of information provided by claimants on the ERP E-form and the employer via the Employer Portal.
– NI number on applications which do not match what is on file at the NIC
– Applicants providing incorrect banking details which results inter alia, in the banks returning payments to the NIC

The NIC remains committed to providing income support to our contributors to help them navigate the financial challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. — SOURCE: NIC

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