The National Insurance Scheme pays seven (7) benefits in two categories: long and short term. The long term benefits are: Age Pension/Grant, Invalidity and Survivors. Short-term benefits are: Sickness, Maternity, Funeral and Employment Injury
The National Insurance of Grenada, Carriacou and Pettit Martinique came into force on the 4th of April 1983 by N.I.S Law 14|1983. National Insurance is equivalent to what is referred to in other countries as "Social Security". It is the protection which society provides for its members through a series of public measures against economic and social distress that would be caused by the stoppage or substantial reduction of earnings resulting from occurrences such as sickness, invalidity, childbirth, aging or death.
The law provides for the collection of contributions and payment of benefits to insured persons. Benefits paid are Sickness, Maternity, Funeral, Age, Invalidity, Survivors and Employment Injury. Copies of the law are available through the N.I.S. or the Government of Grenada Statistical Department.
Social Security was started in the Caribbean as early as 1966 when the Jamaica National Insurance was established. Efforts at establishing a Social Security program for Grenada were first started in the 1960s when workers suffered extreme financial hardships when they were no longer able to work.
In 1970, the first Social Security package was introduced to Grenada with the proclamation of the Agricultural Workers Provident Fund. Employers were required to contribute fifteen (15) cents to the fund on behalf of each worker for every day worked. Money generated through this fund were used to pay benefits to persons covered by the fund, who were primarily agricultural workers.
In the years following its establishment it was realized that the scope of coverage provided by the fund was limited and inadequate. As a result, the International Labour Organisation was contracted as part of a Caribbean-wide project to look into the establishment of a more comprehensive Social Security Program.
This resulted in the setting up of National Insurance Schemes in several countries including Grenada. The Act which brought this into force provides for an actuarial review every three years, mainly for a review and improvements of benefits paid.
There have been a number of changes since 1983 in this regard. For example in 1998 actuarial recommendations were implemented which saw the increase of short-term benefits from 60% to 65%, increases in pensions and the introduction of two new benefits; Employment Injury and Reduced Age Pension.
It is important to note that National Insurance or Social Security Programs are present in almost every country of the world. Wherever they exist they are compulsory, that is, every working person within a stipulated age must contribute to the program.
The mission of the NIS is to provide for efficient payment of relevant benefits and provision of other services to stakeholders in a customer-focused environment through effective collection of contributions and prudent management of funds with highly trained staff using innovative technology.
The National Insurance Scheme will be the premier social security entity in the CARICOM region providing sustained coverage, responsive to national and global challenges.