NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The National Insurance Board (NIB) has received approval to extend the grace period for long-term benefit verifications, it announced yesterday.
The grace period for individuals on disability and invalidity benefits who live in The Bahamas and all individuals aged 60 and over, for all benefits, including retirement, has been extended to July 1, 2021.
The grace period for anyone under the age of 60 who is a recipient of survivors benefits and for all long-term beneficiaries who live overseas has been extended to March 31, 2021.
NIB reminded the public that anyone who has had a change in circumstance that impacts their eligibility for long-term benefit — including change in marital status, children no longer enrolled in school or an increase in income beyond the allowed level — should notify the board via email@example.com as soon as possible.
The board said the extensions were approved after it realized a number of customers had not complied with National Insurance legislation mandating “verification of continued eligibility of the respective benefit twice per year” in 2020.
“Since the COVID-19 pandemic, NIB halted most of its face-to-face operations, including in-person pension verifications, but continued to receive emailed and drop-box verifications,” NIB said.
“Many customers continued to provide their verifications in this manner and remained in compliance with the National Insurance legislation. However, many customers had not verified in 2020, and therefore a special exercise was being conducted to verify those customers to ensure their continued eligibility for their benefits.”
The board noted that it will not be performing face-to-face verifications during the grace period, but encouraged customers to use the following options:
- A pastor, priest, senior government official, lawyer, magistrate, medical doctors licensed in The Bahamas or Justice of the Peace are considered Sanctioned Authorities for the purpose of confirming that the customer has completed the verification form. The form, signed by the Sanctioned Authority, can then be dropped off or emailed to NIB without the need to wait; or
- Retirement verifications can be completed online via the Registrant Self-Service portal (RSS).
NIB advised that the forms can be picked up or dropped off by an individual other than the beneficiary, or emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
It added: “All NIB forms are also available from the website under the ‘Library’ tab (https://www.nib-bahamas.com/_m1722/Library).
“Forms are also being made available at local grocery stores, pharmacies and gas stations. A complete listing of locations will be made available.”
NIB also said: “It should be noted that the Sanctioned Authority is not confirming the correctness or truthfulness of the statements on the verification form.
“The customer/beneficiary remains solely liable for the correctness and truthfulness of the statements on the form.”
According to the release, NIB is providing long-term benefits to over 40,000 recipients, amounting to $22 million on a monthly basis for retirement, disability, invalidity and survivor’s benefits.