Social Security to review gender disparity payout of survivor’s benefits

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The Supervisor of Benefits at the Antigua & Barbuda Social Security Scheme said the statutory corporation plans to review some of its “outdated” policies, one of which is the disparity between paying survivor’s benefits to women as opposed to men.
“I think from time [immemorial] we know that the husband is always the breadwinner. So, it was never designed for a husband to receive this benefit. However, if the husband is an invalid and can
prove that he was solely dependent on the wife, on that premise he can get a benefit too,” Maudlyn Joseph said.
Joseph explained that an invalid is someone who is unable to work due to a mental or physical condition, which has to be certified by a doctor.
“These are things we are going to be looking at in the future because we are talking about gender equality,” she said.
The survivor’s benefit is a pension or grant paid to family members of a deceased, insured person who was receiving Invalidity or Age Pension or would have been entitled to Invalidity or Age benefit at the time of death.
Presently, the policy allow for widows to receive survivor’s benefits, and Joseph further explained that, “If the [woman] is under 50 years old, the benefit is only paid for one year. If she is 50 and over, it is paid for life or until she remarries or if we find
that she is cohabitating, then the benefit will be terminated.”
Joseph also said that common law unions are taken into consideration for benefits once the survivor has lived with the deceased for over three years.
“We need three letters from reputable persons within the community where they were living, to say that they know these persons were living in a common-law relationship for X period,” she said.
Other survivors of the deceased who may be entitled to benefits are children under the age of 16, or under the age of 18 if attending school at the time of the parent’s death.
According to the supervisor, the survivor’s benefit can only be dispersed if applications are made within one year of the death of the insured person.
She added that approval is reliant on the applicant submitting the death certificate, marriage certificate and birth certificate or passport for validity.

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