The National Insurance Scheme pays eighteen (18) benefits in three categories: long-term [Age, Invalidity and Survivors (Spouse, Child, Dependent Parent)], short-term [Sickness, Maternity (Allowance/Grant), Funeral (Insured, Spouse, Child)] and employment injury [Injury, Medical Expenses, Disablement, and Death Benefit (Spouse, Child, Dependent Parent, Other Dependents)].
The National Insurance Board of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite 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”. Its aim and objective are to provide social security protection for its contributors who experience economic distress caused by the stoppage or substantial reduction of earnings resulting in occurrences such as sickness, employment injury, invalidity, childbirth, retirement or death.
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 was used to pay benefits to the persons who were covered, 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 (ILO) was contracted as part of a Caribbean-wide project to explore the establishment of a more comprehensive Social Security Program bringing into force the National Insurance Scheme.
The National Insurance Scheme, over the years has gone through some significant reviews recommended by actuarial studies conducted as mandated by Law every three (3) years. The most significant has been the introduction of the Employment Injury Benefit and the increases in the contribution ceiling.
The pensionable age is now 60. The Government is actively pursuing the increase in the pensionable age to 65 as part of the Scheme’s parametric reform program arising out of the recent actuarial recommendations. This significant change would act as a buffer and assist in extending the life and sustainability of the Scheme.
It is important to note that National Insurance or Social Security Programs are present in almost every country of the world.