(CMR) As many residents anxiously await their COVID-19 emergency pension payouts they are starting to realize that all local pension providers will be charging a fee ranging from $25 to $50 per application processed to members.
CMR was notified yesterday of this by an astute resident who first noticed it on the Chamber website and then received confirmation from Silver Thatch as well. Apparently, part of the agreement between the government and the pension administrators allows them to charge this “nominal processing fee” per individual.
Under the National Pension Law, administrative fees are deducted from fund assets and not member contributions. This does not appear to be the case with this processing fee.
Chamber pensions the island's largest pension providers with over 20,000 active members. Silver Thatch also has in excess of 20,000 members.
The withdrawal application which was designed and approved by the Department of Labour and Pensions makes no mention of the processing fee. The processing fee was also approved by them. In fact, CMR had difficulty finding the link despite being shown a screenshot of it.
There's no indication as to why a set fee for all companies was not agreed upon. In this case, Silver Thatch is charging half of what Chamber Pension is charging. We do understand that the fee will appear on the withdrawal statement for full transparency.
In addition to that, some concerns have been raised about the roughly 10% of applicants who do not have access to bank accounts and whether or not they will be charged to cash a cheque at a local bank. Some banks currently charge non-account holders a fee of upwards of 1% of the cheque amount.
One person observed:
“Here we are in dire needs of our funds and little by little money is being taken out of it. Doesn't really seem fair but what can we do?”
Another concerned person shared:
“I don't remember that being stated and I don't see it in the law or FAQs. This is essentially capitalizing on people's decisions.”