Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social protection at times when they are unable to care for themselves and their families. In Belize, the Social Security Board was established on June 1, 1981 to provide a sustainable social insurance to the workers. Our social insurance provides protection to its contributors against economic insecurity by paying cash benefits to workers to replace wages for the birth of a child, inability to work due to sickness or an injury suffered on the job, at retirement age, or for the death of a spouse or child.
The Social Security Board is a Statutory Body that falls under the Minister of Finance, and is headed by a Board of Directors comprised of nine members and is responsible for running the scheme. These members include 5 persons representing the Government of Belize, 2 persons representing Employers and 2 persons representing Employees.
We are also guided by the Social Security Act, Chapter 44 of the Laws of Belize in making decisions on applications for registration of employers, employees or self-employed persons, it also provides sets of laws pertaining to collection of contributions, qualifying conditions and requirements for the payment of cash benefits and pensions to contributors, and all other matters pertaining to the business of Social Security.
As employees of the Social Security Board, everything we do is inspired by our enduring Mission Statement which guides the actions of our Organization to ensure that the goal of providing social protection to our workers is fulfilled.
Our mission statement reads:
Deliver timely, cost effective and top quality service to our beneficiaries and stakeholders;
Grow and protect a sustainable Social Security Fund with integrity and transparency.
Our Vision Statement concentrates on our future – what we want to be, and that is:
To be a model Social Security institution, the pride of Belize!
Our logo represents the direction towards a more holistic view of the services that the Social Security Board provides. The logo depicts a family (man woman and child) being supported by a hand in a circular frame. The hand represents Social Security Board stakeholders and the family represents the coverage that the benefits directly affects, not only for the insured person but for his or her family. The circle of bronze behind the family signifies continuity. The colors of the logo are Emerald Green, Bronze and White. Green signifies growth and renewal. Bronze is strength and White signifies purity of purpose. All of these colors are indicative of what Social Security symbolizes, that is ‘Insuring the present… Securing the future!’
An employed person can start contributing to the social security scheme at the age of 14 years. Once employed for 8 hours or more in a week, which includes temporary employment during summer or weekend jobs, it is mandatory for employers to pay Social Security contributions on behalf of employees. As a contributor, these monthly contributions will provide entitlement to any of the following benefits by meeting qualifying conditions:
- Sickness benefit for natural cause illnesses payable up to a maximum of 234 days.
- Maternity benefit for females on the birth of a child payable up to 14 weeks.
- Maternity Grant – $300.00 is payable for the birth of a child.
- Employment injury – for work related injuries payable up to 156 days, and includes payment of medical care: doctor’s consultation fees, physical therapy, and x-rays, to name a few.
- Retirement Pension for persons who have worked a minimum of 10 years; it is paid at age 60 for persons who are no longer employed, or at age 65 for persons who may wish to continue working.
- Retirement Grant is a lump sum payment for persons who contributed less than 10 years.
- Survivor’s Benefit is paid to the beneficiaries of Insured Persons, which includes the wife or common-law, and children up to age 16 or 21 if attending school.
- Invalidity Benefit is paid to persons who are permanently unable to perform any type of work due to a natural cause illness, for example: as a result of a stroke, cancer, or any other permanent illness.
- Disablement Benefit is awarded either as a pension or a lump sum grant to compensate insured persons for loss of physical faculty or a permanent disability as a result of an accident at work.
- Death Benefit: is paid to the beneficiaries of an Insured Person who died as a result of an injury or accident at work. It is paid to the wife or common-law spouse, and children up to age 16 or 21 if attending school.
- Funeral Grant:
• $1,500.00 is paid for the death of an Insured Person
• $1,000.00 is paid for the death of an Insured Person’s spouse
• $500.00 is paid for the death of an Insured Person’s child
- In 2003, the Social Security Board introduced a social assistance program referred to as the Non-contributory Pension to alleviate poverty for women sixty-five (65) years or older and men sixty-seven (67) years or older who did not contribute to the Social Security Fund and meet the qualifying conditions to receive this assistance.
In closing, Social Security’s goal is for Service Excellence!