AGD modernises service for pensioners
The Accountant General's Department (AGD), the central government body responsible for administering salaries and making most payments for ministries, Departments, and agencies, has been modernising its system to provide more efficient services.
This engagement is being facilitated through a modernisation programme, which it has been implementing since 2013, and is intended to revise the department's various units and processes, thereby positioning it to operate optimally.
Tanisha Weir Grant, client services manager, said AGD accounts for and "ensures the servicing of government debts, and payments of pensions and other benefits to all the persons employed by the Government of Jamaica."
She indicated that since the modernisation programme commenced, there have been significant service improvements.
One such, she informed, is improvement being effected to the process of issuing life certificates for pensioners.
A life certificate is an official document used by the AG's department to verify that a pensioner is still alive and, therefore, remains eligible to continue receiving a pension entitlement.
"What we have done, so far, is we have bar-coded our life certificates. This means we have put specific features in the bar codes of the life certificate that are (unique) to (each) pensioner. So when that life certificate enters our system, we can easily scan (and) have an image of (it) and, with a click of the button, it enters in the payroll system. (So) the processing time (for payments) has reduced drastically," Weir Grant explained.
She said the department has also outsourced the dispatching of the certificates to beneficiaries.
"So, now, we are doing pressure-seal envelopes where the life certificates, along with the pay advice, are done and sent out within couple of days. We are sending out life certificates within four days (of the) processing time, so pensioners get them a lot earlier, (to facilitate timely payments) for the following month, (consequent on having them properly) completed," she stated.
The AGD has also introduced a new text-messaging alert system which informs pensioners about their status of life certificate.
updated life certificate
"If the certificates come in and they are (deemed) invalid (for whatever reason), we can quickly send a message to (advise beneficiaries of this) and ask them for an updated (document). When we do ask them for an updated life certificate, we have services where we can email them a certificate if we have an email address for them (or) we can mail it out to them if they do not have that available, or they can collect one at the office," Weir Grant outlines, pointing out that certificates are posted every three months.
Consequent on the fact that a pensioner's certificate may, invariably, not properly completed, and is deemed invalid, resulting in suspension of the due payment, the AGD advises beneficiaries to ensure that up-to-date contact information is provided, to avoid delays in securing clarifications.
"Therefore, if it is that they can actually provide us with banking information, an easy contact number, and email addresses, then that's the easiest way to get in touch with them," Weir Grant states.
For more information visit the AGD's website at: www.treasury.gov.jm or call 922-8320-7.