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An employee of the Belmopan City Council was denied Social Security sickness benefits when it was discovered that no contribution payment was done by his employer over a period of thirteen weeks. SSB’s Chief Executive Officer Dr. Colin Young discussed the case and how it is handled by the SSB.


Screen_Shot_2019-06-06_at_8.03.10_PMDr. Colin Young, CEO, SSB


“We are aware that an insured person came to make a sickness benefit claim to the board and all claims that are received are evaluated and when it was looked at there was no contribution made from her employer in this case the Belmopan City Council. Our legislation is very clear is that if the legal requirements was not met the claim was to be disallowed in this case there is one of the conditions that is in the law that says that in order to qualify for the benefit an employee would have had to have made five contributions over the last thirteen weeks and in this case that was not met so the claim was disallowed and in cases like that what happens is that SSB then sends an inspector to the employer and investigates and if that person was employed then they would be assessed that means that essentially it’s a demand for the claimant for that person and at that point SSB then credits those contributions to the insured person even if SSB don’t get paid by City Council because what we try to do is to minimize the inconvenience to the insured person and so we assessed them and at the moment of assessment we give the contribution to the insured person, we then revised the claim and we pay the sickness benefits and then we go after the employer and if the employer doesn’t pay then we take them to court for them t pay their outstanding arrears. We are in the process of assessing the Belmopan City Council and that should be completed today and then afterwards we would then revise the claim and ensure that the insured person would get their benfit and then we would make arrangements with the City Council to become current.”

 

Belmopan City Council’s Town Administrator Ralston Frazer also spoke on the matter in an interview with Plus TV.

 

Ralston Frazer, Town Administrator, Belmopan City Council


“The Social Security Board has a system where across the board whether it is a public sector or for the private businesses, they have s system where they run assessments and so forth to exonerate if you will the employee from being negatively affected and that allows the employer to assume the responsibility in that Social Security will now be dealing with the employer and if it comes to down to it I believe the would even go through a court proceeding if it comes down to that. Now the reason for that is that everybody is aware that at some point in time some business is going to fall in some situation where they are late for payment or something of that sort. I would be the first to let you know that yes the Belmopan city council had been late a payment or two as it relates to the Social Security Board but in a way that it would not and should not had affected any employee and the reason for that is we were constantly in communication with the relevant authorities at the Social Security Board and we had an arrangement with them where we would have been caught up with the small arrear that we had I think it was by June end or July end I can’t remember a this point but nonetheless this matter came up and the Mayor of this Council and myself we have decided you know we will have to do what we need to do because in my opinion obviously there is a mist out here to give you the end of the story and I do want to go back a little to give an explanation the end of the story is that as we sit here right now and am sure the Social Security Board can attest to it we are not in arrears with the Belize Social Security Board as we sit here.”


While Frazer accepted that the Council was late in making contribution payments, he expressed some dismay that the issue has become a controversy because Social Security policy is to cover all employees, even there is a delay with their contributions.


Ralston Frazer, Town Administrator, Belmopan City Council


“It leaves me to wonder what was the individual up to what was the mischief couldn’t t individual I don’t know per say to the HR department and simply could say listen I went to Social Security and xyz and that could have been addressed I don’t know I have to continue to speculate at this point because when social Security would make such a move there is no one person at Social Security with the integrity of Social Security that they would have an individual personally explain that to a person without given them some document because it has been done before and the document at Social Security would be giving to that person a copy of such document would be lodged by the Social Security Board by the Belmopan City Council to this point I have not seen the document and so I am really unable to even say the employee was at this point or it at this point and the employee has not yet come to lay her concerns or anything of the sort so really that is where I am right now.”


Social Security’s bill to the Belmopan City Council will also include interest for the late payment.

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