Gov’t wants reduced waiting time for NIS claimants -Dr Singh

Senior Minister within the Office of the President with responsibility for Finance, Hon. Dr. Ashni Singh has said the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) must put measures in place to reduce the time taken to process claims and make payments.

Senior Minister with responsibility for Finance within the Office of the President Hon. Dr. Ashni Singh in the National Assembly on Wednesday.

The Minister made this statement in response to questions posed by Opposition Member of Parliament, Hon. Jermaine Figueira, about the delivery of service by the NIS during the 14th Sitting of the National Assembly.  The sessions were held at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre on Wednesday.  

MP Figueira asked Minister Singh to inform the National Assembly about the time taken by the NIS to process and make payments for medical or maternity claims from the date the agency receives all the relevant documentation.

Dr. Singh said, “We recognise in Government that claims and benefits need to be processed in a timelier manner by the Scheme and queries do need to be resolved more quickly.”

The Minister said the Government is dissatisfied with the sloth at the agency and has charged the Board of Directors and management to ensure timelier processing of claims. This, he explained, is also contingent upon claims being completed properly.

A maternity claim without a query takes an average of seven working days to process, while a sickness claim without a query takes an average of 10 working days to be completed. Injury claims, after investigation, take an average of 21 working days to process.

To ensure that employers and stakeholders are informed of these requirements and timelines, the NIS has been hosting information sessions to ensure timelier submission and remission of deductions. The agency has also been encouraging employers to submit claims electronically.

However, Dr. Singh said, “This is a work in progress and I have urged the scheme to scale up their efforts to encourage more employers to move towards electronic and online submissions, which eliminate the need for re-entry of the data and improves the accuracy of the data.”

Since his appointment, the Finance Minister has met with the NIS Board to address this and other matters in keeping with President Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali’s mission to remove the bureaucracy that hinders citizens from accessing basic public services.