Questions and Answers

NIS runs a section in the major newspapers called NIS Mailbag where our Public Relations Officer answers questions from the public. Here are some of the questions and answers.

What happens if my NIS Card is lost, damaged or defaced?

If your National Insurance Card is lost, damaged, destroyed or defaced, you can apply for a replacement by paying a minimal fee of two hundred Dollars ($200.00) to the office nearest to you for persons in Georgetown, such a replacement can be done at the Records Department, Camp and Bent Streets, Georgetown.

Note: A replacement is done free of charge in cases where the Insured Person is a National Insurance Pensioner.

What is Constant Attendance Benefit and who are the persons that are entitled to it?

Constant Attendance Benefit is payable to a person who is either an Invalidity or a Disablement Pensioner and who is dependent on custodial care for carrying out his/her activities.

The benefit is fixed at Two Hundred Dollars per day and is paid for such period as determined b y the General Manager (based on the particular circumstances of the case) but not exceeding twenty-six (26) weeks.

What is the difference between an Invalid and a Disabled person?

According to NIS, an Invalid is an insured person who has been incapable (not able to work) for a period of not less than 26 weeks and whose condition is one that is likely to be permanent, thus he/she cannot work again.

Note his/her incapacity is not as a result of Employment Injury.

A Disabled person on the other hand is an insured person who has suffered loss of faculty due to an Industrial Accident.

N.B .: Even though this person’s condition will be permanent, such a person can work again

On several occasions I heard NIS talking about contribution week. could you explain what is meant by this?

A contribution week means a period of seven (7) days commencing immediately after twelve o’clock midnight on each Sunday, and ending at twelve o’ clock midnight on the following Sunday

I was issued a P4 by NIS to uplift my mother’s pension order book and to cash her pension vouchers.
After I collected the last book and went to NIS to have the p4 updated, the NIS clerk took the P4. I was informed that my mother had changed her nominee. Can I still cash the vouchers in my possession? How can the nominee be changed without my consultation?

You cannot change your mother’s vouchers without her approval or approval from NIS and therefore you should surrender these vouchers in your possession to NIS or your mother.

The pension belongs to your mother and not to you or anyone else.

Your mother has the right to change her nominee as she sees fit. This decision made by her would first be verified by an NIS Officer to ensure that it is indeed your mother’s will to have any change made and to ensure that she is benefiting from her pension.

Female employees of my company receive full salary while on maternity leave. As a result, when claims are submitted to NIS they do not get any benefit. The employer later deducts income from the employee’s salary for the period of maternity leave. This is unfair and NIS needs to do something.

Yes. It is unfair. The misleading information supplied by your employer is resulting in employees loosing income. This should not be. Perhaps there is need for NIS education. There is also need for proper representation at the level of the union of administration. You may also recourse to the Ministry of Labour for advice.

Please show this Mail Bag to your employer.

The Publicity and Public Relations Unit will be willing to facilitate education if necessary.

I am 70 years old and employed. I only began to pay NIS at age 6l. Can I get NIS Old Age Benefit?

Sorry! From the information you have given, the answer is No.

Employees do not pay NIS Contribution after age 60. If NIS Contributions are being deducted from your income, this should cease immediately and you can claim a refund of all Contributions deducted after age 60. Your employer can also claim his/ her part. For Pensioners over 60 who are employed the onus is on the employer to pay contribution for the employee. This is paid at a rate of l .5% to cover persons over 60 or under l6 years old for Industrial Benefits.

Please note that I am concerned about your employment record prior to age 60 as there may be something that you are overlooking that may qualify you for Old age Benefit. I suggest you visit or call the Publicity and Public Relations Unit or your nearest NIS Office and speak with an Inspector.

What is meant by Insurable Income?

Insurable Income means the weekly or monthly income on which contributions are paid by an Insured Person, and is subject to an upper limit which is determined by the Board on the basis of four times the weekly or monthly minimum wage prevailing in the Public Service.

The current weekly and monthly Insurable Income Ceiling is $36,498.00 and $158,159.00 respectively

Could you say for how long a claimant can receive Sickness Medical Care Benefit?

An insured person is entitled to the reimbursement of Medical Expenses for Sickness from the date on which he/she is rendered incapable of work, for as long as the need for such care continues.

I understand that one has to make at least 750 contributions at age 60 in order to be qualified for a minimum NIS Old Age Pension. Can you please say what criterion/criteria is/are used for the payment of a higher pension?

The amount of pension you are entitled to depends on two (2) factors:-your relevant wage and a percentage factor. The minimum pension is not considered when calculating your pension rate.

Your relevant wage is determined by looking at the last five (5) years you worked before becoming 60 years old, and using the “best three” (the years showing the highest total insurable earnings) to find an average weekly or monthly salary/wage.

A person who qualifies for pension is entitled to 40% of his relevant wage for the first 750 contributions, and an additional 1% for each complete block of 50 contributions above 750. For example, a person with 1,222 contributions would be entitled to (40 + 9) = 49%. No person is entitled to more than 60% of his relevant wage.

When the pension you are entitled to is calculated, it is then compared to the minimum pension at the time you became 60. If your calculated pension is less, you are paid the minimum pension. Otherwise, you are paid the calculated pension.
Could you say for how long Invalidity Pension is paid?

Invalidity Pension is payable to an insured person for as long as invalidity continues, or until the attainment of age sixty (60) years, after which an Old Age Pension maybe paid.

N.B . Remember, new books are only prepared and issued upon submission of Life Certificates, which attest to the Pensioner being alive

I had spectacles one time from NIS. Can I receive spectacles now that I am unemployed, and not paying NIS Contributions?

Yes, once a Contributor qualifies the first time to receive spectacles, he/she can get reimbursement on other occasions, even if unemployed.

Remember, both contributors and pensioners are entitled to a complete spectacles every two (2) years. However if within the two years the spectacles need repairs, the pensioner is allowed three (3) repairs while the contributor is allowed two (2) repairs. In this case, both contributors and pensioners will have to stand the cost for their own repairs then claim for reimbursement from NIS.

Can you say how much money self -employed persons has to pay to be covered for NIS benefits?

Self- employed persons contribute 12.5% of their declared income as contributions.

For example, if an insured person’s monthly income is $40,000.00 per month, his/her NIS contribution will be:

$40,000/1 x 11.5/100 =

What should I do if I have an accident while on duty?

If you have an accident on duty, you or someone acting on your behalf should tell your employer, foreman, supervisor or someone in authority, at once.

You can claim for Industrial Benefit, but you must be incapable of work as a result of the industrial accident.

Note, if you are a self-employed person, you are not covered for this benefit, but instead, be paid Sickness Benefit.
I am a Pensioner of the National Insurance Scheme. Myself and legal wife are separated for over 30 years. Since then, I am living with someone else who bore me one (l) child who is now 25 years plus. I will like to know, when I die, who would receive my benefits from the National Insurance Scheme.

To answer your question, please be informed that National Insurance Scheme will be obligated under the Laws of Guyana, Chapter 36:01, Regulations 14, to pay your legal wife the Survivors Benefit if she makes a claim to the Scheme, and satisfies the other qualifying conditions. She will be entitled to this Benefit in preference to all other claimants.

Note however, that whoever pays for your Funeral expenses, can make a claim for and receive Funeral Benefit once all the requirements are met.

Are self-employed persons entitled to Disablement Benefit and what are the qualifying conditions?

No. Self-employed persons are not covered for Disablement Benefit. This benefit is payable to an employed person who has suffered loss of Faculty due to an Industrial accident.

There are no qualifying conditions to be satisfied for this benefit. However, the employed person must be covered by National Insurance Scheme.

Whilst on holiday abroad, I took ill. Will I receive NIS sickness Benefit or have my Medical Bills reimbursed.

NIS Sickness Benefit is only paid where there is loss of income due to the condition. You will be able to get reimbursement for your medical expenditure, however this is subject to the considersation of the General Manager. Please submit your Medical Reports, Leave and Bills.

My son has drowned and his body has not been found. I cannot get a Death certificate, but he has been declared missing, presumably drown by the Guyana Police Force. Must his family suffer for seven years before he is declared legally dead, and we can receive a Death Certificate?

No! whereas a Death Certificate is advocated as proof of death, the General Manager has the power to accept other documentation such as the police records and certificate of presumption of death. Do submit all relevant documents, along with a claim for Survivors Benefit.

Do I still have to pay NIS if I am HIV positive and cannot work?

If you are ill (any condition) and your illness causes you to be unfit for work then you shall not be required to contribute to NIS

Note however, that you can apply to NIS for Sickness or Invalidity Benefit.

For Further informatio, you can call the number below or visit the nearest NIS Office to you.

I am an employee working for 10 years with a company. i was involved in an Industrial Injury which was reported to my Supervisor. i saw a Doctor, submitted my medicals and received full salary. How can I get Disablilty Benefit if my employer never submitted my medicals to NIS?

NIS will definitely need the IB1 (Notive of accident/Statement of Earnings Form) from your employer. Nothing can be done without this.

Your Supervisor should have reported and recorded your accident, and your employer should have submitted the relevant documents to NIS regardless of whether or not your received full salary or else.

I am receiving Invalidity Benefit from NIS but cannot recieve Medical Care as I never qualified for Sickness Benefit. My drugs cost a lot of money, and, I am a poor person. Why can't I get Medical Care from NIS?

You can receive maintenance drugs for your condition provided that you register with the Medical Section of NIS.

Note that Medical Care is attached to Sickness Benefit, and not Invalidity Benefit.

I was advised by a friend who is a NIS clerk, that there are some employees who should not be registered.
I am however, not sure of this. could you advise me?

There is a list persons who should not be registered as employed persons:

1. Anyone who is earning less than five dollars ($5.00) per week.

2. A married person who works for her husband. (She can be registered as self-employed.)

3. A non-citizen who is exempt from social security legistation because of diplomatic status.

4. Anyone employed by an International or Regional Organization of which Guyana is a member (e.g. Caricom).

I have been robbed by NIS! I was advised that I would get the highest paid pension because I was paying contributions in the highest bracket. I have paid NIS for six (6) and now I have only received a Grant. I deserve a Pension.

I am indeed sorry to hear that you have been misled into believing that six (6) years of contributions would enable you to get a Pension. You have not been robbed by NIS! you have been misled or misinformed by someone.

That person was either unaware of NIS regulations or did not know exactly how many contributions you had or were likely to have had at age 60.

To qualify for Old Age Pension, you need a minimum of fifteen (15 ) years or approximately 750 contributions. Anything less would entitle you to a Grant, which is what you received.

NIS is not in the business of robbing contributors! We exist to offer you social protection and guaranteed benefits once all qualifying conditions are met.

If or when we make a wrong decision based on inadequate or inaccurate information we allow for same to be corrected through an appeal process.

I am 42 years old and was never employed until recently. How do I join NIS?

You can become a contributor to NIS if you satisfy any of the following requirements:

Age 16- 60
Employed with yourself or under a (Contract for service)
NOTE: Your employment must be insurable (legal)
Earning not less than $5.00 per week

Age 16-60
Employed by someone / business etc.
Earning not less than $7.50 per week

N.B. Persons under 16 years and over 60 do not pay contributions.
If they are employed, their employers contribute for their insurance coverage.

How much money would the wife of a pensioner receive as Survivor's Benefit, after her husband dies?

She is also 60 years old but never worked so she is not getting an Old Age Pension from NIS.

The rate of pension payable to the widow of a pensioner is 50% of his pension. for instance, if he was receiving a minimum pension of $12,096.00 she will be paid $6,048.00 which represents half of his pension.

I am working with a company for five(5) years now. My employer pays NIS for me but I read in the newspapers that there is a ceiling on which NIS is paid.
My salary is far over the ceiling but I only pay NIS on $60,000.
What can I do in such a situation?

First of all your employer is in breach of the laws of NIS. Your contribution should be paid on your total actual earnings.
You would only pay on $60,000; if your salary was $60,000.
Note, that by paying on the wrong amount, your employer is actually doing two (2) things.

(1) Saving himself from having to pay more money. Remember he would have to pay the bigger part (8.4%) of $158,159, while you only pay 5.6% of $158,159.

(2) Denying you from being paid a higher rate on your benefits when you make claims to NIS.
You should visit the compliance department as soon as possible to have this situation investigated.
Kindly take your NIS card and payslips (if available).

I live at Lethem and find it easier to access health care (beyond what is available at our Regional Hospital) if I cross the border to Brazil.
will NIS reimburse me for medical expenses if the Doctor refers me to Brazil for treatment. What of Sickness Benefit?

(A) Permission for NIS Overseas Medical Treatment is granted when the treatment required is not available locally. Your requirements may not be available in Region No. 9, but, may be available in Region No. 4. Whilst necessary care through Brazil is easier for you, it is out of the ambit of the laws of Guyana, Chapter 36:01 to facilitate such an act.

(B) Now, Sickness Benefit is another thing. This you can claim providing you are sick. Once you lose income as a result of illness, you can receive benefit.