Sickness benefit is a weekly benefit payable to an insured private sector employee or self-employed person, between the ages of 16 and 59 who is absent from work due to a certified illness other than that caused by employment injury. Sickness benefit is not payable to Government or Statutory employees.
To qualify for sickness benefit, the claimant
(1) Must have been in employment the day before the illness began.
(2) Must have paid not less than 26 weekly contributions into the Fund.
(3) Must have worked at least eight weeks in the three calendar months immediately before the illness began.
A claim for sickness benefit should be made within 21 days after the illness. Any claim made after this time may be disallowed by the Director. The sickness claim form is the Social Security Medical Certificate issued by a doctor. Sections A and B of the medical certificate should be completed by the doctor; Section C completed by the employer; and Section D completed and signed by the claimant.
Sickness benefit is 60% of your average insurable earnings. Average insurable earnings according to the Social Security Sickness Regulation is defined as “the sum of insurable earnings on which contributions are based, paid in three calendar months immediately preceding the month of incapacity…” up to the Social Security maximum of $4,500. This means that though there may be contributors who earn more than $4,500, the amount in excess of the Social Security maximum is not included in the calculation for sickness benefit.
Please note the following example.
Three months salary:-
January: $800 for 4 weeks
February: $850 for 4 weeks
March: $950 for 5 weeks
Total earnings: $2600 for 13 weeks
Average insurable earnings $2600÷13=$200
Weekly rate of benefit 200 x 60% = $120
Sickness benefit is not payable for the first three days of illness or for Sundays. Sickness benefit is paid for a maximum of 39 weeks of continuous illness provided that a second medical opinion is provided after 26 weeks. If the illness continues after 39 weeks, the claimant may be entitled to invalidity benefit, based upon a medical opinion; that is a doctor registered in Antigua & Barbuda.
Claim forms incorrectly filled out or with sections missing will delay the processing of one’s claim. Also noteworthy is that the name on the claim form MUST match the name on the Social Security card. Therefore persons who have a change of name due to marriage or otherwise please ensure that the original legal documents are brought into the office so that the necessary changes can be made so as not to delay claim processing.
Additionally, if someone other than the claimant will be collecting the cheque from the Social Security office, the individual MUST present the claimant’s Social Security card, in addition to a note dated and signed by the claimant authorising the respective individual to collect the cheque on the claimant’s behalf. The individual collecting the claimant’s cheque MUST also present a photo I.D.
For further questions or if there is a particular aspect of Social Security that you would like discussed be it from a local, regional or international perspective, please contact the Social Security office at:
Know Your Social Security
The Antigua & Barbuda Social Security Board
P.O. Box 1125
St. John’s, Antigua
or email us at: email@example.com.