SSB Continues to Pay Out Significant Amounts in Sickness Benefits
Despite a decrease in COVID-19-related claims, the Social Security Board (SSB) says it has not seen an overall reduction in sickness payouts. At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the SSB disbursed over four million dollars in COVID-19-related payouts. In recent months, however, the country has seen a decline in reported COVID-19 cases, and the World Health Organization has declared the pandemic officially over. Chief Executive Officer, Deborah Ruiz, says while cases have dwindled, the board continues to pay out a significant amount of money in sickness benefits.
Deborah Ann Ruiz, Social Security Board: “We do have a high number of respiratory infections still but not COVID so our sick days still continue to be high. We do have a lot of number of days that is a concern in the actuary report and we just got our draft 2022 actuary report which are some interesting numbers. I’m studying those closely because as you know we are having our AGM normally in the month of August so we’ll be working to get our actuary in country to be available to answer questions from our stakeholders. So I’m just reviewing those numbers, looking at it but covid is a non-issue but the number of sick days is an issue.”
Reporter: Well that’s interesting because one might imagine that given the drop in COVID numbers there would have been a drop in sickness benefits.
Deborah Ann Ruiz, Social Security Board: “No. No that is not the case in terms of sickness no. So those are some interesting statistics that we are taking a look at closely to see what is the impact because one of the recommendations is that we need to look at putting back in place the waiting days and that is not something that our employer stakeholders want to hear so that will be an interesting conversation.”