Basseterre, St. Kitts, September 08, 2016 (SKNIS): Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, has dismissed rumors about a 40 percent cut in benefit funds to pensioners of the Social Security Scheme.

 “There has been no proposal that has come, neither to the Board of the Social Security nor to the Cabinet of St. Kitts and Nevis that would require or call for a 40 percent adjustment or cutback in payments to any beneficiary of the Social Security Scheme,” Prime Minister Harris said on Wednesday (September 07), while addressing the concerns of a caller to the ‘Voices” radio programme on Winn FM.

 Dr. Harris said the most recent Social Security Actuarial Report “makes no reference to any cut” and said the report will be made public. He described the talk as nonsense and said it should be “dismissed for the mischief it is attempting to create.”

 One area featured in the report and mentioned by the Prime Minister was the pensionable age for retired workers.

 “The actuary would say when you look across the landscape of Social Security payments in the Caribbean Region and beyond, that the average [payout] range is about 65 in terms of pension,” the Prime Minister and Minister of Finance told listeners, adding that locally the payout age is 62. “That reality, even the Actuary has come to grips on and has recommended that …  if one were to adopt this recommendation one could consider still maintaining the options for persons to claim their benefits at 62 but at a reduced rate with the full pension becoming payable at 65.”

 Dr. Harris described that measure as “a reasonable approach” but added that no decision has been made by the Cabinet on this subject. He said that consultations will be necessary before it is approved and taken to the Parliament for debate.

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