Sunday 3rd February, 2008


Don’t play the devil with your future

Law made simple
Sports Arena
Business Guardian
Online Community
Death Notices
Classified Ads
Jobs in T&T
Contact Us
Privacy Policy


At Carnival time, even as a child, the mas “Play the devil” was more of an enigma to me than it was scary. The concept of “pretty mas,” face to face with the masquerade of Lucifer was an edict on the truth of human choice: we can be anything we want, so why would some choose the devil?

We can have all the things we want, but not if we play the devil with our investments and our financial plans, or even our health. Lack of planning shows up pretty soon as living “hand-to-mouth,” as my mother would say.

By now we would have seen the larger NIS deductions from our pay slips. What does this buy for us?

It buys a doubling of the pension we are now entitled to from $1,000 to $2,000, and it buys an approximate increase of 25 per cent coverage on the medical benefits under the NIS scheme.

Under the new benefit structure, NIS will now reimburse up to $22,500 of medical bills incurred as a result of a work-related injury.

Such medical expenses will include hospitalisation, surgery, pharmaceuticals, dressings, devices such as a wheelchair, prosthesis, etc, as well as visits to the doctor and nursing care at home.

More NIS benefits

Certain diagnostic investigation, viz MRIs—magnetic resonance imaging—now carry a separate coverage of $2,000 per area of the anatomy.

But if you know anything about medical bills, you can eat up the full claim benefit in a few days. Since bills, as a result of serious injury, can exceed $100,000 quickly, it is better to have a plan. The best plan is one where you will not have to use up savings earmarked for another purpose.

Individual major medical or critical illness insurance is an inexpensive buffer. For about $300 per month, the average individual can get at least $100,000 of benefits.

NIS will also pay a sickness benefit, for illness that is unrelated to work injury—if such illness results in loss of pay. The amount of the benefit is equivalent to a benefit rate according to your class of contribution. The entitlement can last for a maximum of 52 weeks without pay.

The maternity grant is now $2,500, per child, and is payable per child even in the event of multiple births. If the mother has not paid contributions to NIS, the benefit can be calculated based on the contributions of the father.

If a worker becomes an invalid for a period exceeding 12 months, an invalidity benefit is payable. This is calculated on the class of contributions and the number of contributions made by the worker.

Certain groups of workers, such as the self-employed and domestic workers are also entitled to NIS benefits provided they register themselves, and make the necessary contributions.

So whether you choose to dust yourself in blue powder, with horns, while you jump to the chant of “jambalasee, play the devil,” or play pretty mas this season, for God’s sake, don’t play the devil with your future!