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Antigua and Barbuda - Social Security and Welfare

Everybody who is working in Antigua and Barbuda must register at the Social Security Office before they are allowed to begin work. You must take along proof of identification and birth certificate if you were born in the country, an Antiguan passport if you have become a citizen by naturalisation, or if you are an expat worker you must present your work permit and passport. The work permit must show the employers details and the employer must be registered with the Social Security Office.

Workers are then given a Social Security card which contains all your details. You will only ever have one social security number so it is important to keep it safe. This card should be presented to each employer you have so that they can make contributions on your behalf.

The social security system in Antigua and Barbuda has a number of benefits which are designed to support workers if they are unable to work for any reason or if they require financial assistance. There is a sickness benefit which is paid when workers are certified too ill to work but the illness is not work related. This benefit does not apply to workers of government departments. Maternity benefit can be paid in the form of an allowance paid weekly or a grant as a one-off payment, though some workers may be entitled to both.

Invalidity benefit is paid to those who are under the age of 60 but who are deemed unfit to work on a permanent basis. This can also be paid as either a weekly amount or a one-off grant. There is an age benefit which is paid as a pension or a grant when a person has reached the age of 60.

There is also financial assistance available when a person dies; there are funeral grants and survivors benefits which can be paid out to dependent relatives. This is not payable when a person dies as a result of an injury at work. The funeral grant is a lump sum which is paid when the deceased has made the required amount of contributions.

Expat workers are expected to make contributions to the system so should be able to make any relevant claims when the minimum number of contributions have been made. It is worth checking with the Antiguan social security office to ensure that your personal circumstances will not exclude you from making a claim. Further details on the different benefits can be obtained from the website of the social security office, along with the relevant forms for making a claim.

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