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War Victims Trouble NASSIT for Payment of Pension

War Victims Trouble NASSIT for Payment of Pension

As the country continued to record confirmed increase cases of Covid 19, War Wounded In Action (WWIA) have on Friday 24th April, 2020 agitated the National Social Security and Insurance Trust (NASSIT) Management for payment of pension for the month of April.

They made what many described as an unplanned agitation visit at the NASSIT Headquarters office on Walpole Street via Cotton Tree in Freetown in the presence of the Sierra Leone Police and other private security personnel.

According to the aggrieved victims, the payment of their pension has always been managed inadequately by senior authorities of the Trust in order to disqualify or delay them from receiving their benefits, noting that most of the banks are rejecting or refusing to pay their pension while NASSIT is always paying other pensioners on time through the counter with no disturbance.

They said the Government of Sierra Leone is not to be blame for the late disbursement of their pension but NASSIT is to be blamed for the fact that they have been in this arrangement of documents for a long period now and that they are now taking tough action for such delay not to repeat again in the next disbursement cycle.

“We will not go anywhere if NASSIT does not pay us our monies for April, 2020. We had sacrifices our lives for this country during the war but yet still some unscrupulous institutions and individuals are not recognizing our efforts”, said War Wounded Victims.

 The Invalidity pensioners said they are not going to wait or listen to police or any other authorities unless NASSIT pay them their pension as the country is currently under emergency status, adding  that they have domestic affair issues to settle, especially with regards health, food, housing amongst other key responsibilities.

They went further to call on the government through the Ministry of Finance and other lined Ministries to come to their aid for a lasting solution so that NASSIT will not delay the disbursement process as they are not active workers any more like before.

Speaking on behalf of NASSIT, General Manager, Public Affairs Department, Mr. Osman F. Koroma, told this medium that the issue of retirement funds disbursement for War Wounded Victims fall under the Invalidity Pension Scheme and that the other two categories are for Old Age and Survivors’ Pension Benefit.

Mr. Koroma said War Wounded Victims fall under the invalidity pensioners who they always prioritized because of their conditions and that War Wounded Victims are also in a special category which is been monitored and supervised by Sierra Leone Medical Board.

He added that anybody that is qualified to receive pension at NASSIT must go through certain processes and if that person reached qualifying conditions then he/she is paid directly to the bank.

“On the 25th of every month we make sure that we send all invalidity pension payments or disbursements through their respective banks and for those that received their pension through the counter have been receiving their payment across the country without any interruption. But today is the 24th we started payment on the previous day instead of the 25th “, said Public Affairs Manager.

Because of the current situation, the Public Affairs Manager said NASSIT decided to forward the payment of pensions early on the 23rd instead of the normal date which is the 25th of every month and that for them to come and agitated unlawfully for their benefits beat his imagination.

Manager Koroma said he is pretty sure that most of them have not even gone to their respective banks to check if payment is ready but he however acknowledged the fact that NASSIT is a state institution which means they are not new to some of these unlawful public embracement.

He concluded by stating that, NASSIT could not stop them from accessing the building as most of them are not normal individuals but assured the general public on NASSIT continuing support and national service to Sierra Leoneans.

In his backing up statement ,the Head of Benefits ,NASSIT ,Mr. Edwin Mohamed Kamara said the benefits that they are paying now to pensioners was initially  formed by law through the NASSIT Act of 2001,adding that this law clearly states qualifying conditions on disbursement protocols.

Mr .Kamara noted that section 43 (3) of the NASSIT Act 2001 explained details about Cessation Entitlement and Validity Pension and that first Cessation condition demands that the medical board should assessed invalidity pensioners on regular health checkups.

“If medical board determined that a member is no longer a valid. If the member commences work order than that which is determined by the medical board to the beneficiary’s for the person rehabilitation. At the age of 60 at which point it is converted to old age pension”, Mr. Kamara narrated.

He went furthered to disclose that there are cleared eligibility and Cessation conditions which demands that the Medical Board should reassess invalidity pensioners because it has to be determined by the board. And that this reassessment alongside the verification exercise had commences since last year on October and ended on January 15, 2020

By Alhassan Bangura

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