Self-employed contributions must be paid within 14 days of the end of the Quarter for which it is due. Contributions that are not paid by the due date are subject to a Surcharge of 10% and Interest at the rate of 10% per annum on the total amount due.
Contributions payable by Voluntary contributors must be paid within 26 weeks of the end of the contribution year for which it is due. Contributions that are not paid by the due date are subject to a 10% Late Fee plus interest at the rate of 10% per annum.
The amount of contributions that our contributors pay vis-a-vis the amount of benefit that they receive from the DSS program is quite remarkable. Indeed, the combined contribution paid between an employee and his employer is 11% of the employee’s income. However, at the very least, the smallest Long-Term pension he will receive is 30% of his income, while the smallest Short-Term benefit he will receive is at the rate of 60% of his income. Any investor will tell you that if a person invests 11% of his income, and receives 30% to 60% in return, that this is a remarkable Return on Investment. By contrast, if one was to save his money on a Fixed Deposit account in the bank, he would receive interest at the maximum rate of 5%. Moreover, if he spent his savings, (to use the old adage: “Once it’s gone, it’s gone.”
Our Social Security records reveal that within no more than three years of receiving his benefit, an Age pensioner normally recoups the total amount of contributions which he had paid during his entire working lifetime. In some cases, some pensioners recoups their total contributions in less than one year. Even so, Social Security is obligated to continue paying him for the rest of his lifetime (on average, another 20 additional years). When he dies, not only is a Survivors’ Pension paid to his dependents, but a Funeral Grant is also paid to assist with his burial expenses. In the end, therefore, some employees recoup more that 50 times the amount of contributions paid on their behalf. Hence the Contributions employees pay to the DSS should be viewed as an investment which repays a much, much higher return than that paid by the banks and most other organizations.
- The benefits paid under the Short-term Branch are: Sickness and Maternity benefit which are generally paid for a short duration of time (not exceeding 26 weeks/6 months), and are meant to partially replace employment income lost as a result of temporary absence from work. Qualifying claimants are paid a maximum 60% of their average income during the period of incapacity.
- The Employment Injury Branch comprises Employment Injury Benefit, Disablement Benefit, Death Benefit, and Medical Expenses Benefit. These are payable as a direct consequence of an occupational hazard.
- The Long-term Branch comprises: Age benefit, Invalidity benefit, and Survivors benefit. These are generally payable for a period exceeding 26 weeks/6 months. In addition, a Funeral Grant is paid upon the death of a member, his/her dependent spouse and dependent children subject to applicable Social Security regulations. Self-employed persons and Voluntary Contributors qualify only for the Long-term benefits.
Long-term claims are generally processed and paid within one month of the date of entitlement or submission of the claim, whichever is later. However, where there are difficulties with the information required for processing the claim – such as missing contributions – the processing time is dependent upon the time taken to resolve the particular problem.
In addition, an employee who is in receipt of any Short-term benefit is awarded a Credit for each complete week (Monday through Saturday) during which he is in receipt of that benefit.
Dominica is a party to the Caricom Reciprocal Agreement on Social Security, which covers most of the Caricom member territories. Dominica also has a Reciprocal arrangement with the Canadian Social Security.
Please refer to the Caricom Agreement on Social Security Layman’s Guide for further information or you may access the entire Caricom Agreement on Social Security Act.