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SSB expecting to see more covid-19 claims for the rest of the year

The Social Security Board is anticipating an uptick in sickness claims with the recent arrival of the Omicron BA.4 sub-variant. For the first five months of the year, SSB has paid out over five million dollars in COVID-19 claims, many of which were for days spent in isolation. Yesterday, SSB’s CEO, Deborah Ruiz, explained that due to the increase in activities they are expecting to see more claims but are anticipating a decrease in the dollar value of payouts.

Deborah Ruiz, CEO, Social Security Board: “It has been a costly pandemic because of the number of persons who have been unable to work and being on isolation. This is the first time in our history that we are really paying Isolation Days, which is the more, thankfully, the more, the higher number of days. So in terms of the numbers of cases up to the end of May, I have data readily available. For COVID-19, we have paid approximately 14,000 claims which is about 47.3% of the total sickness claims are COVID related. That is about 110 days in all and just about $105 million just in COVD cases. For sickness to date, we have spent just over $8 million in sickness benefits.”

Vejea Alvarez, Love FM News: Is there any indication that the number of days, the number of sickness payouts for COVID-19 will lessen? You know if that has been the trend so far? Whether the numbers have been on a downward trend?

Deborah Ruiz, CEO, Social Security Board: “Well I don’t think it will lessen at all Mr. Alvarez because in fact people have returned to work. We are seeing the number of contributors increasing so they are qualifying for their benefits but because of the social interaction that people still have, we are still getting. Thankfully based on the guidelines of the Ministry of Health the number of isolation days is less. So in terms of volume, we might be paying less money but number of claims, we expect to see an increase in the number of claims because currently we pay as day one. So any claim for COVID won’t be covered under social security but for the illness and for isolation.”