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Reciprocal Social Security Agreements




The Ministry of Labour and Social Security has the responsibility to monitor and enforce the Reciprocal Social Security Agreements which Jamaica has with other countries.
Jamaica signed the Reciprocal Social Security Agreements with four countries: United Kingdom, Canada, Quebec and the CARICOM.

The first reciprocal agreement between the Government of the United Kingdom and Jamaica came into force on October 1, 1972.  This was followed by Canada and Jamaica on January 1, 1984 and Quebec and Jamaica on January 1, 1989.  The most recent Reciprocal Agreement – the CARICOM Agreement on Social Security (the National Insurance and Social Security Order, 1997) was signed at Georgetown, Guyana on March 1, 1996 and came into force on April 1, 1997.


The CARICOM Reciprocal Agreement on Social Security was signed on 1st March  1996 and came into force on 1st  April 1997.

How the Agreement Applies
Under this Agreement –

  • Insurance periods are pooled from various countries in which persons served;
  • Insured persons are entitled to benefits by one or more of the Social Security Schemes in the various countries once they are qualified. 
  • CARICOM Nationals are entitled to the same benefits as nationals of the host country, as provided by the respective social security organization.

Who is covered by the Agreement

The Agreement ensures that the rights and obligations of certain workers are secured.  Hence, the Social Security Schemes require all employed persons to register and to make National Insurance contributions to the respective social security organization.  The categories of workers covered under the Agreement are as follows: 

  • Workers in Transnational Enterprises
  • Workers in International Transport
  • Workers on Ships
  • Workers in Diplomatic Missions, Consulates and International Organizations
  • Self-employed  Persons
  • Itinerant Workers (Workers travelling from country to country)

To view more details about the category of workers please click here.

NOTE: Compulsory and Voluntary Insurance Schemes
If you are insured under the Scheme of one country, e.g. Jamaica, and at the same time you are permitted to voluntary contribute to another compulsory insurance scheme, you will be insured under the first country’s scheme only (in this case Jamaica).

If you are permitted to voluntarily contribute to two or more compulsory insurance schemes, you are entitled to be insured under the scheme in the country where you reside.  If you do not live in one of the CARICOM countries, you should be insured under the scheme of the country where you last worked.


If the insured is subject to the legislation of two or more CARICOM countries and satisfy the conditions for a benefit in all of these countries, then the insured or his survivors are entitled to a benefit according to the legislation of the CARICOM countries concerned.
If the insured does not have enough contributions to qualify for a benefit in the CARICOM country in which he resides, then the contribution that is paid in other CARICOM countries will be taken into account.  The insured may receive the portion of the benefit to which he is entitled if he had satisfied the relevant conditions. 

The CARICOM Agreement covers the following social security benefits which are payable for life and are usually stated as pensions:  

  • Old Age or Retirement Pension
  • Invalidity Pension
  • Survivors or widow’s/widower’s Pensions
  • Disablement Pension
  • Death Benefit

How to claim benefits

  • Persons may submit claims for benefits to the Social Security Institution in the country of residence
  • The claim will then be referred to the relevant institution(s)
  • Any claim, application declaration or appeal should be submitted within the time period specified in the legislation of that country.
  • The date on which the claim is received in the country of residence will be considered as the date of the claim.

Basic rules for submitting claims for benefits:

  1. Claims should be accompanied by the necessary (following) supporting documents and should be submitted on the forms prescribed either by the legislation of the country in which the claimant lives, or by the legislation of the country in which the claimant or the deceased person was last insured.
  2. Any information given by the applicant should be supported by official documents which should be attached to the claim form, or confirmed by the authorities in the country/countries where the applicant worked and paid contributions.
  3. Claimant should indicate where possible the institution/s of each country to whose legislation he or the deceased have or had been subject, or the employer/s by whom you or the deceased have or had been employed in a CARICOM country.  Any certificates of employment that may be in your possession should be submitted.

Documents to accompany claims

  • Proof of Age
    • Certified Birth Certificate and Affidavit if applicant’s name does not appear on the Birth Certificate; or
    • Valid Passport; or
    • Electoral Identification Card where necessary
  • Change of Name
    • Marriage Certificate
    • Deed Poll
  • Other
    • Letter of Cohabitation

Eligibility Criteria & Documents to Support Application For Jamaican Benefits

Examination of Claims

Claim forms are examined by the institutions to which they have been submitted or to which they have been sent.
After each social security institution has agreed on the portion of the benefit to be paid persons are informed of the amount to be received from each institution.

Conditions for Benefits – applying Articles 16, 17 & 18

Determination of Benefits – Art. 16

Where the insured person (Claimant) has contributed to two or more Member States and has satisfied the qualifying conditions for a benefit in any of the countries concerned, such person or the survivors of that person shall be entitled to the benefit according to the legislation of each of the countries concerned.

Totalisation of Contributions Periods – Art. 17

Where the claimant does not qualify for a benefit in any of the countries concerned, each country shall take into account all insurance (contribution) periods completed under the legislation of the other member states in order to determine the benefit at the time of application.

Payment of a Partial Benefit – Art. 18

Where the claimant satisfies the qualifying conditions for a benefit in one member state but not the conditions for a benefit in other member states in which the insured person was employed, the Social Security institution of the member states shall pay a portion of the full benefit to the claimant according to the legislation of the countries concerned.

General Information

When going to another CARICOM country to work, or that you are in receipt of benefits under the Social Security Scheme where you reside, you must inform the Director, National Insurance/Social Security of your – 

  • date of departure,
  • overseas address and telephone number
  • National Insurance/Social Security/Pension Number. 

Upon returning to your usual place of residence, it is essential that you let the Director know that you have returned. To view the Caricom Agreement on Social Security, please click here.



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