Caricom Reciprocal Agreement On Social Security

The Caricom Convention on Social Security came into force on 1 April 1997. It protects all rights to long-term benefits by providing for the sum of all contributions paid to the social security organisations concerned in the Member States where a national has previously worked. Suriname is the exception because it does not have a comparable social security system. The agreement allows voluntary contributions to be paid. Permission to contribute depends on the number of contributions made in participating states. In other words, contributions are added up (this is the concept of totalization). An salaried caricom national must be insured in the Member State where he is employed and must therefore contribute to the social security agency concerned. He is entitled to the same benefits as nationals of the host country. The agreement allows CARICOM countries to coordinate their social security programmes and refers to the payment of pensions for: people are subject to the legislation of the state in which they are currently employed. When persons are employed on board a ship, the law of the state in which the vessel is registered applies.

In the case of independent coverage, individuals are subject to the state in which they work. If individuals make mandatory contributions to one state and are voluntarily subject to the contribution in another, they will be guided by the provisions of the country in which they made the mandatory contributions. The reciprocity agreement provides provisions for individuals in cases where the legislation applies to more than one of the participating states. If you or an insured person is disadvantaged by the application of certain provisions of the agreement, the competent authorities may, by mutual agreement, grant exemptions to the application of this convention in the interests of the person or persons concerned. This applies in particular to diplomats, ship workers, voluntary and self-employed contributors and others residing in countries other than their workplace. The agreement is seen as a key to facilitating the free movement of workers in the CARIOM internal market, but it applies to all persons working in two or more countries or who have worked in two or more countries that have implemented the agreement.

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