The Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) paid the sum GHC18.4million to invalid pensioners under its Invalidity Pension scheme in 2021.
This scheme is paid monthly to a member who is declared permanently unfit to work due to physical or mental disability regardless of age.
The highest-earning pensioner under this scheme is a 31-year-old invalid pensioner who is paid GHC11, 228.00 monthly while the lowest-earning pensioner is paid GHC332.00 monthly.
SSNIT Director-General, Dr. John Ofori-Tenkorang, during a stakeholder meeting in Accra yesterday, noted that the aforementioned is among the unique benefits his outfit offers to contributors.
According to him, contributors can also enjoy old age pension benefits, survivors’ lump sum, emigration lump sum as well as old age lump sum.
He clarified the misconception that the SSNIT scheme is only meant for formal or public sector workers, saying “the SSNIT scheme (Tier 1) is open to all workers in Ghana.”
Dr. Ofori-Tenkorang subsequently noted that self-employed persons, who had contracted the services of workers, are obliged to pay social security contributions on behalf of their workers.
He found it worrisome that out of the 11.5million workforce in Ghana, only 14,314, representing 0.08 percent, are active self-employed SSNIT contributors, hence the need to extend coverage to them.
The SSNIT boss explained that doing so would “reduce poverty and overdependence on benefactors during old age, provide partial income replacement and ensure that workers have a guaranteed source of income during old age until death.”
“It will provide a cushion for low income earners and reduce the government expenditure on social support programmes such as the Livelihood empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) programme. It will also enable the self-employed enjoy free healthcare under the National Insurance Health Scheme,” he added.
Dr. Ofori-Tenkorang, speaking to the media on the sidelines of the event, disclosed that responses from members of the informal sector towards the scheme had been positive.
“There’s been a lack of knowledge about what SSNIT does and specifically the benefits of the scheme. The narrative around is that SSNIT does not pay you much; you’re better off doing something with your money than contribute to SSNIT. But when I break it down to people and show them the value that SSNIT provides and not just the theory with real data, I think people all of a sudden wake up and start looking at us anew,” he said.
“The response has been positive. A lot of the people who are self-employed didn’t think that the law allowed them or that they have the ability to come and join SSNIT just like any other worker in the formal sector. So I think that when people realise that there is provision for them to join and more importantly, they realise the value that SSNIT provides which they cannot get elsewhere, they start looking at us differently,” he added.
Responding to whether his outfit would be able to meet the 10 million coverage, Dr. Ofori-Tenkorang was confident that public education about the functions and benefits of the Trust would make it happen.
“I believe once we are able to get the message down and people understand what we do and whether they join or not will be based on the value that we offer; I believe once we start getting that traction, we will be able to reach those basis. That is my belief and it is a journey I am happy to embark on,” he noted.
Present at the event were representatives from the Tema Station Market Women Association, Abbosey Okai Spare Pats Dealers Association, Ghana Union of Traders Association as well as Ghana Private Road Transport Union (GPRTU).
It was under the theme “Extending Pension Coverage to the Self-employed and Informal Sector Workers.”