SSNIT Pensions Still Not Easy To Claim – Insiders Explain
The President’s declaration about expedited Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) pension payments may have been made with more exultation than precision.
SSNIT pension payments are not as easy and straightforward to claim, as indicated by President Akufo-Addo in his State of the Nation Address (SONA) on March 9.
Sources at SSNIT have explained that the announcement in the SONA that pensioners can start receiving payment within 10 days of filing, is actually a target yet to be attained.
How many days does it take currently?
They said even with digitisation, it took a minimum of 17 days to start receiving pension payments after filing.
From the beginning of 2021, the waiting period came down to within two weeks of filing a claim.
“The earliest one can start claiming one’s pension after filing is currently within 13 days, provided there are no gaps in all the contributions. There must be regular monthly contributions during employment, showing 12 monthly contributions throughout the years applicable. A claim for a 20-year contribution, for example, must be justified by 12 monthly contributions multiplied by 20 years.”
“The problem for most government employees is that sometimes the contributions are late or not paid at all, through no fault of the worker. It happens that sometimes the government subvention is delayed, thereby affecting the consistency of a worker’s SSNIT contributions,” according to insiders at SSNIT.
It was pointed out that sometimes the reason government employees seem to wait endlessly is the tediousness of verifying and validating contributions that were paid inconsistently over pensioners’ employment life.
“Interestingly, the well-managed private firms tend to pay workers contributions more promptly and consistently, making it easier for SSNIT to do the validation faster for a quicker payment of pensions.”
“Usually, the delay in payment is never due to SSNIT not having the funds available. In circumstances where 12 regular yearly contributions were paid over the number of years applicable to a pensioner, there is always a smooth payment of pension due him or her, even when the monthly entitlement runs into six figures for a single beneficiary,” the sources at SSNIT maintained.
It was revealed that there are retirees in the country who receive a pension of more than GHC 100,000 a month.
Many pensioners from governmental institutions recall with sadness the stress associated with pension payments, adding that the reason some pensioners die early can be traced to pension payment frustrations.
In President Akufo-Addo’s first SONA to Parliament after his re-election, he said SSNIT is now able to pay pensions within ten (10) days of application.
He described it as a dramatic example of how his administration has digitised the operations of many government institutions, including the ports, National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), and the Passport Office.
National ID numbers to be converted to SSNIT numbers
In his address, President Akufo-Addo added that from the second quarter of 2021, “all National ID numbers will also become SSNIT numbers.”.
The objective is to increase the number of people on the SSNIT database from four million (4 million) to 15.5 million, making it easier for new contributors to be enlisted on the scheme.
The National ID numbers will also become NHIS numbers.
“Very soon, we will link the National ID to all SIM cards, bank accounts, Births and Deaths Registry, DVLA documents, and passports.,” he assured.