Jamaica Tax - What does Retired Mean?

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'Retired' describes a person who has ceased to work.


'Retired' describes a person who has ceased to work. It generally refers to people of pensionable age, who no longer work (65 for men, 60+ for women). Being 'retired' means that a person is no longer in employment, paid or voluntary. Providing guidelines have been followed, retired people can receive a Government pension, known as 'Old Age Benefit' or 'NIS pension'. If not enough NIS contributions have been made, a retired person can apply for an Old Age Benefit grant.

Retirement/Old Age Benefit/NIS pension

In order to qualify for an Old Age Benefit pension:

  • Men must have reached the national retirement age, which is aged 65 years for a man.
  • There is a programme of change for women, due to complete on 1st March 2016, which sees a gradual increase in the retirement age for women from 60 years to 65 years and above.
  • 156 weeks of NIS (National Insurance Scheme) contributions must have been made
  • The person must have stopped working. When a contributor remains in full-time employment from the age of 60, Old Age Benefit will not be paid, though they will continue to contribute to the National Insurance Scheme.
  • Men aged 70 and over and women aged 65 and over are classed as retired, even if they continue to work and. The Old Age Benefit will be paid.
  • If a person stops working before reaching their retirement age and is not intending to work again, can become a 'Voluntary Contributor' for NIS purposes, until they do reach retirement age.

If a retired person receiving the Old Age Benefit/NIS pension goes back to work they must inform the NIS office and surrender their pension book. If required, they must start making NIS contributions again.

A Spouse Allowance may be granted, if married or in a common-law relationship, for people with an Old Age Benefit or Invalidity Pension, providing;

  • The pensioner is supporting a dependent spouse
  • They have been married for at least 3 years
  • The common-law relationship is at least 5 years
  • The spouse is at least 55 years

Documents need for an application for Old Age Benefit:

  • National Insurance Registration Card (pink card)
  • Birth Certificate (and Deed Poll where applicable or Passport) for applicant and spouse
  • Marriage Certificate
  • Proof of Employment (optional).

Old age, Invalidity, Widows/Widowers Pension Scale

Effective fromFull Basic Weekly Hours (39 & over yearly average)¾ Basic Weekly
(26 - 38 hours)
% Basic Weekly
(13 - 25 hours)
13 January 2013$2,800.00$2,100.00$1,400.00

Old Age Benefit Grant

If a person has not made 156 weekly contributions, they are not entitled to the Old Age Benefit pension. However, if they have made a minimum of 52 weekly contributions, they may apply for an Old Age Benefit Grant. The claim must be made within 12 months of the date of entitlement. If in time and granted, the money awarded will be a single payment by cheque.

Jamaican Tax Guides