The Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) has begun the process of paying pensioners and contributors who have been affected by the National Pensions (Amendment) Act, 2014, Act 883, any differences arising out of the recomputed benefits.
This comes after the assurances given to SSNIT by the National Pensions Regulatory Authority (NPRA) to refund the five per cent contributions paid to the second tier scheme by the contributors.
Subsequently, the affected SSNIT pensioners have been categorised into two broad groups namely: SSNIT pensioners who are already receiving their pensions under Act 766; and SSNIT pensioners whose claims are currently being processed.
The move is intended, among others, to bring to rest the agitations from beneficiaries who were enraged at the amount of monies they were receiving as pensions.
According to a public notice posted by SSNIT, “The affected SSNIT pensioners need not apply for this difference: SSNIT shall, where applicable, undertake the following; recompute their pensions under PNDC Law 247, pay any difference into their bank accounts, on payment, notify them by SMS and finally issue them with payment advice that can be obtained from any SSNIT branch.”
It further noted that members who qualified for pension payment under the amendment, but were yet to lodge their claim would also have their benefits computed and paid under PNDC Law 247 as and when they applied.
SSNIT gave the assurance to all affected SSNIT pensioners that it was committed to ensuring a swift implementation of the amendment.
Prior to this action, SSNIT had told the GRAPHIC BUSINESS that all pension contributors who turned 50 years and above as of January 2010, when the new pensions law came into force, had been reverted to the old pension scheme under PNDC Law 247.
Consequently, it noted that more than 400,000 members of the SSNIT pension scheme, including active/inactive members and pensioners, had been exempted from being governed under the new National Pensions Act, Act 766 and had been reverted to PNDCL 247 managed solely by SSNIT.
This, SSNIT explained, followed an amendment to the National Pensions Act, Act 766 which had widened the age category of contributors who were exempted from the new Act from 55 years to 50 years as of January 2010.
“SSNIT has, therefore, assumed responsibility over the benefits of these contributors and will be expected to pay the affected contributors the 25 per cent lumpsum plus their monthly pension when they retire. Monthly pensions benefits are indexed annually and paid to the pensioner until he/she dies,” it said.
The General Manager, Operations, SSNIT, Mr Theodore Ohene, had explained, “The new arrangement is better for the contributors in that age cohort (50 years and above as of January 2010) because they will receive a better retirement package.”
According to him, it was observed that contributors aged 50 and above as of January 2010 could not accumulate enough contributions under the 2nd Tier Scheme to guarantee them a superior lumpsum benefit by the time they retired at 60 years, hence the decision to review the Act and revert that cohort to PNDCL 247 to ensure a better benefit for them.
With the amendment to Act 766, he said three things were expected to happen to fully integrate those affected by the new age limit fully into the SSNIT scheme.
First, Mr Ohene said the five per cent contributions for all those affected by the new Act, who had their contributions paid into the Temporary Pension Fund Account (TPFA) lodged at the Bank of Ghana because they had still not selected a trustee under the second tier, would be retrieved by the National Pensions Regulatory Authority (NPRA) and returned to the Trust for their SSNIT accounts to be credited with the amount.
Secondly, he said the five per cent contributions of those who had made contributions to the managers of their Second Tier Pension Scheme would be retrieved by the NPRA and paid to SSNIT to credit their account with the Trust.
Finally, he noted that those affected by the amendment who had taken their benefits under the Act 766 (and have now been placed under PNDCL 247) would have their benefits recomputed and any difference paid to them.