The Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) has this year deleted from its payroll the names of some 22,920 pensioners, aged 72 and above, who failed to complete or renew their pensioner certificates as of August 31, 2021.
Per the Trust, the deactivation exercise – a mechanism put in place by the Trust to ensure that pension is paid to only retirees who are alive – has saved it about GH¢16.24 million in pension payments in September 2021.
Pensioner certificates are issued to pensioners, aged 72 who retired under PNDCL 247 and 75 years for those who retired under Act 766 and renewed annually.
At the start of 2021, the Trust indicated it had saved about GH¢144 million from the deactivation of accounts of some 11,478 pensioners since 2018. Since 2018, the Trust has, on a monthly basis, been deleting the names of pensioners aged 72 and above who fail to complete or renew their Pensioner Certificates. This was however halted in March 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
This exercise is meant to ensure that pensions are paid to the right persons. However, in cases where an account is deactivated, the Trust will reactivate such account when the pensioner renews their certificates.
According to the Trust, a total of GH¢1.8 billion has been made in benefits payments to pensioners during the first half of 2021; representing an 8.17% increase in benefits paid compared to the 2020 figure of GH¢1.66 billion.
The Trust made GH¢1.58 billion as pensions and GH¢8.81 million paid to invalid pensioners; whereas total lump-sum payment was about GH¢214.29 million; this was made up of payments to survivors, old age members of the scheme, refunds, and emigrants. In 2020, GH¢1.50 billion and GH¢7.75 million were paid to old age and invalid pensioners, respectively; and GH¢152 million in a lump sum payment.
The number of persons under the Trust’s invalidity pension payroll increased by 13.68% in 2021 compared to the same period in 2020; in the case of old-age pensions, the payroll increased by 4.92% in 2021 compared to the same period last year. The invalidity pension is a monthly cash benefit paid to members of the Scheme who can no longer work due to a disease, an illness, or disablement of a permanent nature.
The invalidity pensions arrangement is for those who had contributed for at least 12 months within 36 months before the sickness or accident occurred and had been certified by a medical board as not being able to work again were eligible to enjoy the benefit from SSNIT, adding that they would be paid for the rest of their lives unless they recovered at some point.
Available data shows that currently, over 80% of workers in Ghana ensure salaries of GH¢2,500 or less, which means that 80% are contributing GH¢275 each month, according to the Trust.