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Trinidad and Tobago - Social Security and Welfare

Trinidad and Tobago does have a social security system to provide benefits for those who are having financial difficulties, although there are conditions for claiming benefits. Those who are entitled to social insurance include employed persons aged 16 to 64, agricultural and household workers, apprentices and public sector employees. Exclusions apply to self-employed persons, persons who earn less than TT$120 per week or TT$520 per month as well as persons who are employed by international organizations who are granted exemptions.

The minimum weekly earnings for contribution based calculations are TT$120 and the maximum weekly earnings for contribution calculation purposes are TT$1,915. Qualifying conditions for social insurance include those who are aged 60 with at least 750 weeks of contributions paid or credited could receive an old-age pension. Those who are aged 60 and do not satisfy the qualifying conditions for an old-age pension, could receive a old-age settlement. Old-age benefits are payable abroad under reciprocal agreements. It will be necessary to check whether or not your home country has such an agreement with Trinidad and Tobago.

Requirements for a social insurance disability pension apply to those who are younger than age 60, assessed as being incapable of working and have at least 150 weeks of contributions. This also has to include at least 50 weeks in the 3 years immediately before the disability began, 250 weeks in the last 7 years immediately before the disability began or 750 weeks of contributions immediately before the disability began. Disability benefits are also payable abroad under reciprocal agreements with other countries. For those who are from the UK and already claiming a disability benefit, you will need to check with your local social security office to ensure that this can still be claimed while you are abroad.

There are a number of other social security benefits that may be claimed. The social insurance survivor pension requires that the deceased person had at least 50 weeks of contributions or was a pensioner. Eligible survivors include the widow(er), any unmarried children up to the age of 19 and any dependant parents. The pension ceases on remarriage. There is also a funeral grant if the deceased had at least 25 weeks of contributions.

Social assistance is extended to persons in need with very little or no means of support, the government covers the total cost of social assistance. Those eligible for social assistance aged 65 or older with at least 20 years of residence in Trinidad and Tobago and a monthly income not exceeding TT$2,800 can receive it in the form of a means-tested old-age pension.

For an expat, all of these benefits would only be payable if you have been a long term resident of Trinidad and Tobago and if you have been making contributions to the system for several years at least.

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