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Social Security and Welfare

Belize - Social Security and Welfare

Belize has a social security system for its native residents. This is funded by contributions made by both employers and employees and provides benefits when people need financial assistance.

Benefits that are available include sickness benefit which is only paid for a maximum of 273 days once a doctor has certified that you are unable to work. This payment dates from the first day of the illness. There is a maternity benefit paid for 14 weeks and a maternity grant which can only be paid if the recipient has not been able to claim the maternity benefit.

Citizens also make contributions towards a pension and can be claimed from the age of 60 onwards, though it is paid to all those over the age of 65 whether they are working or not. Those who have not made the right amount of contributions and don't qualify for the pension may claim a retirement grant, which is a onetime payment.

There is also an invalidity pension which is paid out to those who have had to stop work for ill health and who will be unlikely to ever be well enough to return. This can be claimed up to the age of 60 when it becomes the pension payment instead. Those who do not qualify for the invalidity pension may claim an invalidity grant as a one-off payment. A survivors benefit or grant may be claimed by the spouse or dependents of an insured contributor after they have died, providing the death is of natural causes. They should also be able to claim a funeral grant if they meet the criteria and produce the required documents. Again, this is following death by natural causes.

Injury benefit is for those who develop a work related injury, or who are injured while travelling to or from work. They may also be entitled to several other benefits including medical care or attendance allowance.

Expats cannot claim from the Belize social security system. It may be possible if they choose to become citizens of the country and spend several years paying into the system, as all of these benefits are subject to a minimum number of contributions. It may be possible if you are claiming benefits in your home country that these can continue to be paid to you while you are in Belize. For further information on this it is a good idea to check with your local benefits agency prior to travelling to the country.

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