No NIS retirement pension for Tunapuna baker
By MIRANDA LAROSE Wednesday, August 7 2013
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Trevor Walters, retired baker....
Trevor Walters, a 63-year-old baker of Tunapuna found out he is not entitled to an NIS pension on retirement after 17 years of unbroken service at a bakery, and in addition, having had National Insurance (NI) contributions deducted from his salary each month..
Over five years of contributions were missing on the records kept by the National Insurance Board (NIB), and instead of a pension, a one-off grant was paid into his bank account, even though he objected. For 17 years, Walters was employed at two outlets of a bakery (name provided) in Port-of-Spain and Arima.
“I would have made over the 750 contributions required for a pension. Instead the records are showing that I made 596. Over five years of my contributions have gone missing,” he told Newsday on Monday in Chacon Street, Port-of-Spain.
He applied for his pension in 2010 and the one-off grant was paid into his bank account in 2011. Walter, who drives a taxi to earn an income said, “I have not spent the money because I am entitled to the pension.” After the money was paid into the account Walters made an appeal on August 29, 2011 to the National Insurance Appeals Tribunal (NIAT) to review his case. The Ministry of Finance acknowledged receipt of the letter on October 18, 2011. To date, Walters said that no other action has been taken on his matter.
When he enquired last month about the matter, Walters said he was told that those dealing with his case were awaiting his records from the Barataria office of the National Insurance Board,
“They also told me that the appeals tribunal has over 300 persons waiting on them, that I am not the only one. The system is frustrating,” he said. Walters began working with the bakery in 1988, and retired in December 2005. He was a weekly paid worker.
Copies of the records show that from September, 1988 to September, 1989, he made only four contributions. There is no record of any contribution being made for the period 1989 to 1992.
The records showed that contributions for seven years after, between 1992 to 2004 ranged between 22 to 49. For six years the contributions were between 50 and 52. Walters said that he worked for six days each week without given time off. “My service was unbroken. Once they (his employers) gave me a two-week holiday with pay,” he said.
In 2010, Walters said he applied for his NIS pension, and it was then he discovered that contributions for over five years were missing.
Having made the discovery, Walters said he returned to his former employers to inquire about the matter. He asked his employer (name given) for a letter to give to the NIB to prove that he had given unbroken service for 17 years.
“Mr (name provided) said he could not give me a letter to incriminate himself,” Walters said.
He then secured two affidavits from fellow employees who had worked with him to vouch that he had been employed for the period he claimed to have worked, and these he had made available to the NIB and the NIAT. A spokesman of the NIB Head Office yesterday told Newsday that a payment would not have been made without an investigation into the matter. Efforts to contact the owners of the bakery over the past two days were futile.