The National Insurance Board provides ten (10) cash benefits, four (4) cash assistances and one “benefit-in-kind”. The benefits are paid in respect of Sickness, Maternity, Funeral, Retirement, Invalidity, Survivorship, Unemployment, Injury, Disablement and Death. The assistances are the Old Age Non-Contributory Pension, Invalidity, Survivors’ and Sickness.
Benefits are awarded to insured persons who meet prescribed contribution conditions; assistances are awarded to needy Bahamian residents who do not qualify for a particular benefit, and only after the application of the “test-of-resources”.
The monthly rate of payment for the Long-Term Benefits - Invalidity, Retirement and Survivors’ Benefits - varies depending on the total number of paid and/or credited contributions, from a minimum of 15 to a maximum of 60 percent of the insured person’s average weekly insurable wage or income. The minimum (full) payment, monthly, is $270; the minimum reduced (for early retirement) payment, monthly, is $250.
The weekly rate for the Sickness Benefit, is 60 percent of the claimant’s average weekly insurable wage or income. The minimum and maximum weekly payments are $53.08 and $240, respectively. The weekly rate for the Maternity Benefit, is 66 2/3 percent of the claimant’s average weekly insurable wage or income. The minimum and maximum weekly payments are $53.08 and $266.67, respectively. There is also a Maternity Grant, which is a one-time payment of $400 given in respect of each live birth. To qualify for the payment, the woman must have paid at least 50 weeks of contributions over the course of her work life. A woman who does not have the required contributions but whose husband has paid sufficiently to meet the conditions for the Maternity Benefit, will be awarded the Grant.
The interim phase of Unemployment Benefit came on stream as part of the National Insurance benefits package on April 1, 2009. The permanent phase is expected to begin sometime in 2010. To qualify for the benefit (interim phase), a person must have paid a specified number of contributions and must have lost employment on or after July 1, 2004. The benefit rate is 50% of the average insured income, with minimum and maximum weekly payments of $53.08 and $200, respectively.
The rate of assistance payments is fixed. These have been increased from time to time, with the last increase coming in 2002.
Under the Industrial Benefits branch, employed persons or self-employed persons in Class “B”, who suffer job-related injury or contract job-related diseases, are eligible for Injury Benefit, Disablement Benefit and/or Grant, Industrial Death Benefit, Industrial Funeral Benefit, and free Medical Care.
Injury Benefit is a weekly payment, paid at a weekly rate of 66 2/3 percent of the worker’s average insured income, with a range of $53.08 per week as a minimum payment, and $266.66 per week as a maximum payment.
Disablement Benefit is paid as a percentage of the Injury Benefit, based on the degree of disablement caused by the industrial accident. Disability is assessed by a Medical Referee and is expressed in percentages.
For disablement assessed at between 1 and 24 percent, a grant of $100 is paid for each percent of disability. For disablement assessed at between 25 and 100 percent, Disablement Benefit is paid as both a one-time cash grant, and periodically, as a pension. For example, a lump sum grant of $500 and a monthly pension is paid where the disablement is assessed at between 25 and 66 percent. A grant of $1,000 and pension, are paid where the disablement is between 67 and 100 percent.