NSSF pays out Shs1.5b under Covid-19 invalidity provision   

NSSF in June announced that Covid-19 patients would be allowed to access part of their benefits to cater for hospital bills. Photo | file 

What you need to know:

  • National Social Security Fund (NSSF) between June and July received about 50 applications out of which about 30 were considered under the Invalidity Benefits provision. 
  • The mid-term access  provision, which had been created under the NSSF Amendments, had created a lot of debate with a number of people both in government and NSSF rejecting the idea, amid an outcry from both members and workers’ unions. 

National Social Security Fund (NSSF) paid out about Shs1.5b between June and July to about 30 Covid-19 patients. 
The money, according to NSSF, was paid out to patients who, during the period, had applied to access their savings under the Invalidity Benefits provision.
 
The Fund, which during the period received about 50 applications, capped the maximum payout to Shs50m in a move that sought to relieve members of huge medical bills resulting from Covid-19 ailments. 
Mr Richard Byarugaba, the NSSF managing director at the weekend told Daily Monitor that whereas up to 30 applications had already been paid out, more were being reviewed for consideration. 

“Well, we have received over 50 applications so far. We have been able to resolve about 30 and most of them we have paid out up to a maximum of Shs50m. Our internal guidelines [provides that] we pay up to Shs50m or whatever the invoices are,” he said, noting that the process was still ongoing, especially for Covid-19 patients who were either in Intensive Care or High Dependency units. 

In June, NSSF announced that members, who were battling Covid-19 would be considered for a partial payout off their savings under the Invalidity Benefits provision.
However, Mr Byarugaba had then noted that the payout would purely be based on the advice of the NSSF doctor, who would assess an application before a payment is authorised. 
The announcement came amid concerns of escalating medical bills with some members appealing to NSSF to relax provisions so that they are allowed to access their savings to cater for medical bills.   
This had come at a time when Covid-19 infections had surged with a number of hospitals invoicing patients with large bills and tough payment measures. 

At the weekend Mr Byarugaba told Daily Monitor that access under the Invalidity Benefits provision, which was still ongoing, allows members in high dependency unit to physically apply for the benefits, while those in intensive care are offered a letter of support committing to pay the bill up to an allowable amount. 
“It is mostly for people who are either in high dependence or in intensive care. Of course, if you are in high dependence, it is probably because you still have your sense and you can participate in the process of applying. 

However, if you are in ICU, then your next of kin can deal with the matter and what we do in that particular case, we write a letter of support to the hospital basically saying that once this person gets out of the situations, they will be able to pay from the money that we have,” he said. 
NSSF has since last year been swarmed by requests from both members and the public to create a provision in which savers, whose income sources have been affected by Covid-19, can access part of their benefits to shore them out of related disruptions.

Early last week it was report that President Museveni had allowed a provision, under which members above 45 years, who have saved for 10 years, would be allowed to access part of their benefits before hitting the required retirement age. 

Mid-term access  
The mid-term access  provision, which had been created under the NSSF Amendments, had created a lot of debate with a number of people both in government and NSSF rejecting the idea, amid an outcry from both members and workers’ unions.

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