New ministry simplifies seafarers benefits transfer

| 03/10/2009

(CNS): Government has announced that it has made it easier for widows of marine veterans to claim their entitlements. When a seafarer dies, his widow is entitled to claim the benefits that her husband received when he was alive but the surviving spouse must make the claim to get the benefits in her own name. The responsibility for the administration seafarers benefits has now shifted from the Ministry of Health that of the Ministry of Community Affairs and Housing and the new ministry, recognising that this can be a challenge for some elderly people, said it now requires less information.

Surviving spouses must apply for the benefits in their own names, the ministry said. Once an application is approved, widows she will be added to the government’s payroll. This procedure is in compliance with guidelines that have been in existence since 2000.

The ministry said it was aware that this system places a little additional pressure on an elderly surviving spouse. In consideration of this, the application form has been simplified to reduce the amount of information that the spouse must submit to qualify. 

The criteria for qualification are: the surviving spouse must be aged 60 or older; the surviving spouse should not have a monthly income exceeding $2000; the surviving spouse must submit certified copies of her husband’s death certificate, her own birth certificate, their marriage certificate, plus the relevant pages of her passport.

Application forms are available from the receptionist at the Government Administration Building or from the Ministry of Community Affairs and Housing.

The ministry reminds the general public that these benefits are for seafarers or their surviving spouses only. Relatives are required to inform the ministry when benefit recipients are deceased. 

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