Definition Of A
Self-Employed Person

A Self-employed person is distinct from an employee in that he works for himself. He is not employed as part of the business of another, neither is his work integrated into the business of another, but is only accessory to it, or, it is done by him, on his own account. Generally, such a person controls the terms and conditions under which he works.

Registration Of A Self-Employed Person

The Social Security Act provides that every Self-employed person between the ages of 16 and the Retirement age, ordinarily resident in Dominica, who is engaged in employment in Dominica, must apply for registration as an insured person.

In order to get registered, a Self-employed person is required to present:

  • His original Birth Certificate and Marriage Certificate (if applicable)
  • Evidence of the income earned in the operation of his business

Payment Of Contributions

The contributions payable by Self-employed persons are based on earnings from self-employment during the period of one year immediately preceding the contribution year in which the contribution is due. Hence, the contributions one is liable to pay for, say, 2022, is based on the total income earned during the preceding year, i.e., 2021. In view of the foregoing, every self-employed person is required to visit the DSS office no later than the 31st day of January every year, to get a reassessment of his income and contribution payable for the new year.

The Rate of Contribution payable by Self-employed persons is currently 13% of their total income for the preceding year, subject to a maximum income of $84,000.00.

While contributions are generally due on a quarterly basis, contributions may be paid monthly. Late payments, i.e., payments made after the 14th day following the end of the relevant quarter, shall be subject to Late Fees of 10% plus interest.

Definition Of A Contribution

Each weekly payment received on behalf of an Insured Person is referred to as a Contribution. Each such contribution is converted to a Credit. Thus, an Insured Person who worked for an entire month is entitled to 4 or 5 Credits depending on the number of Mondays in that month. By extension, the entitlement for an entire year is 52 or 53 Credits, depending on the number of Mondays in the year.

In addition, a self-employed person who is in receipt of any Short-term benefit is awarded a Credit for each complete week (Monday through Saturday) during which he is in receipt of that benefit.

The number of Credits an Insured Person has recorded against his number determines:

  • Whether or not he will qualify for benefit.
  • What percentage of his salary he will receive as his pension.

Benefits Self-Employed Persons Qualify For

It is of interest to note that while the total Social Security contributions paid by a Self-employed person is 13% of his income, the minimum Pension for which he may qualify is 30% of his AWIE. Additionally, the Short-term Benefits he may qualify for are paid at the rate of 60% of his AWIE.

Self-employed persons currently qualify for Short-Term and Long-Term benefits.

Short-Term Benefits: These are benefits that are generally payable for a short duration of time (not exceeding 26 weeks or 6 months), and are meant to partially replace employment income lost as a result of temporary absence from work. A qualifying claimant is paid a maximum of 60% of his average income during the period of time that he is medically certified to be incapable of work. A person in receipt of Short-term benefit is responsible for informing the DSS office if there is any change of circumstances affecting his continued rights to such benefit. Short-Term Benefits being paid by DSS are as follows:

  • Sickness Benefit
  • Maternity Benefit
  • Maternity Grant


Long-Term Benefits: are generally payable for a longer duration of time than Short-term Benefits which are paid for a maximum period of 26 weeks. The benefit payable is a function of the number of Contributions (or Credits) which a person has recorded against his account, and his average income for the best 3 of the last 10 working years. Having determined the Claimant’s Average earnings, the Claimant is paid a percentage of such Average Earnings. The percentage payable depends on the number of Credits that the person has earned during his insurable years. (Please see the Pension Percentage Computation Chart for the percentage equivalency.)

The Long-term benefits being paid by DSS are as follows:

  • Age Pension
  • Age Grant
  • Invalidity Pension
  • Invalidity Grant
  • Survivors Pension
  • Survivors Grant

In addition, a lump sum Funeral Grant is provided to assist with the burial expenses of an Insured Person, his or her spouse, and/or their dependent children. The Grant is payable to the person(s) who has met, or is liable to meet, the burial expenses.

Medical Referee

A Medical Referee is a medical practitioner (or a group of medical practitioners) appointed to independently evaluate the medical condition of a patient who has been referred to him for evaluation by the Dominica Social Security.

Dependent Children

Dependent Children are all the biological children, step children, or legally adopted children of a deceased Insured Person who at the date of the parent’s death was below the age of 18, and was living with, or wholly or mainly maintained by the deceased.

Certificate Of Life Form

A Certificate of Life form is a certificate attesting to the fact that the Pension recipient is alive and in receipt of his pension. The form must be signed by the pensioner in the presence of a witness who must be one of the following persons: Justice of the Peace; Notary Public; Lawyer; Police Officer (Sergeant or above); Ordained Minister of Religion; Doctor; Family Nurse Practitioner; School Principal; Licensed Surveyor; Banker or Credit Union senior Personnel; Social Security Departmental Manager or Compliance/Field Officer. For benefit recipients residing overseas, the Certificate of Life form must be notarized.

Retirement of Insured Persons

For information on Retirement Age and Pension, click here.