Social Security celebrates 32 Years of Operations Print E-mail
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Thursday, 06 June 2013 00:00

Information shared to the public was made with visual aids and it comes in a timely fashion as some challenges remain; especially at the branch office in Santa Elena Town.

At this time, the Branch Office in Santa Elena would like more persons to register with them and get their unique number for their entire life span. Some persons don’t have their Social Security card updated. Their cards have expired and they need to get their birth certificate to come in and register. Valid Passports can also be used for this purpose but many persons complain of the great distances and expense needed to travel to Belize City to get their birth certificates.

Another challenge for the Santa Elena Social Security Branch office is the relative closeness to Guatemala, where many come over to work but are not eligible for Social Security Cards. Despite this restriction, employers continue to hire these persons without valid Social Security numbers. Without numbers, Social Security is thus at a loss on where to post their contributions. In the future this could be a hindrance to them because as they get old and retire they won’t be able to collect the benefits under Social Security.

In order to reach the masses, the Social Security Branch office in Santa Elena has been conducting educational outreaches. As recently as last month, such efforts were made to both standard five and six students in Primary School as well as to fourth year students in High School. Many students at these levels do not continue their education, but immediately go into the job market; thus the importance of them knowing about Social Security.

“Right now what we would like to see is a decrease in the unregistered people that we have, we would like everybody who is working to register with Social Security,” says Olivia Dakers, who is the Branch Manager for the Social Security Santa Elena Office.

“Social Security is here to serve them, our doors are open and we are willing, we are able, if they have any queries, any concerns that would like to be addressed, they should feel free to come in to speak to us.”

While there is a primary sub- branch of Social Security in Santa Elena, there are two other sub- branches nearby to extend the reach of Social Security. Most of the operations conducted therein are similar to the bigger office in Santa Elena; however, those who need to register with Social Security need to go to the main office in Santa Elena to get their pictures taken.

There is a Social Security sub- branch office on Church Street in Benque del Carmen that opens on Wednesdays. This Benque office open from 8:30 am to 4:00 pm and can be reached at 823-2337.

The other Social Security sub-branch is in Spanish Lookout and is located near the Caribbean Tires Bbuilding on Main Road. This sub-branch opens on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8:30 am to 4:00 pm. and their contact number is at 823-0416.

Once registered the benefits from Social Security are many. The Social Security Card is normally used as a national identification. It is recognized by many organizations and becomes useful when conducting financial transactions with them. Services from the banks, credit unions, the Lands Department and Immigration are obtainable with the showing of a Social Security Card.

But the primary benefits when registering with Social Security comes in the long term. Persons who are working, pay their contributions to their assigned numbers, so that when the inevitable happens like sickness and the advancement of age, benefits can be obtained from Social Security.

Sickness benefits are obtainable for insured persons where 50 paid contributions have been made.

Other benefits that can be accrued when registering with Social Security are retirement and survivors benefits. Under the retirement benefit, if a Social Security client turns sixty and is not working, applications for claim can be made immediately. (But if the person continues to work, then that person won’t be eligible until the age of 65.) Then there are the survivors’ benefits that can be obtained when a person dies, under which situation both widow with children can qualify for survivor’s benefits.