Benefits to pensioners will be increased in January 2013. The Lower and Upper Houses of Parliament last week passed the National Insurance (Amendment) Act 2012, which paves the way for adjustments in the contribution and benefit rates under the National Insurance Scheme (NIS).
The insurable wage ceiling (IWC) is being increased from $1 million to $1.5 million per annum with effect from January 7, 2013.
The IWC is the maximum salary on which NIS and National Health Fund (NHF) contributions are calculated.
The second schedule to the Act is being amended to increase the flat-rate contribution to $100 per week with effect from January 7, 2013.
Domestic workers, voluntary contributors and self-employed persons currently pay a flat-rate contribution of $50 per week.
Pension benefits were last increased by 20 per cent with effect from July 1, 2010.
The basic rate of NIS pension benefits is being increased by 16.67 per cent, reflecting a hike in the rate of inflation for the period July 1, 2010 to June 30, 2012.s
Other benefits to be increased with effect from January 10, 2013 are:
The basic rate payable for old age, invalidity and widow's/widower's pensions from $2,400 to $2,800 per week.
The basic rate payable for orphan's and special child's benefits from $4,200 to $4,900 per week.
The three-quarter rate payable for old age, invalidity and widow's/widower's pensions from $1,800 to $2,100 per week.
The half rate payable for old age, invalidity and widow's/widower's pensions from $1,200 to $1,400 per week.
Sugar workers' pensions increase from $1,200 to $1,400 per week with effect from January 10, 2013.