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:

  • The original copies of his Birth Certificate and marriage certificate (if married)
  • 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,2015, is based on the total income earned during the preceding year, i.e. 2014. 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, in order 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 on a monthly basis. 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 weekly contribution is converted to Credits. 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 particular 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, an employee 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.

(Please refer to the Pension Percentage Computation Chart for the percentage equivalency).

Benefits Self-Employed Persons Qualify For

Self-employed persons currently qualify for Long-Term benefits. 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).

It is of interest to not 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.

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.

Retirement Age Of Insured Persons

Please note that with effect from 2012, and consequent upon amendments to the Social Security legislation, the Pensionable Age (i.e. the age at which an Insured Person becomes eligible for an Age Pension from the DSS) will increase incrementally by six (6) months every year – until the year 2021, when the Pensionable Age will be set at Age 65.

Notwithstanding such incremental increase in the Pensionable Age, provisions have been made whereby persons, who wish to do so, can opt to receive their Age Pension earlier than the normal Pensionable Age that will be in effect at a particular point in time. In that regard, age 60 shall remain the age at which Age Pensions first become payable, but at a reduced rate of 1/2 % per month for every full month prior to the established Pensionable Age that the pension is so taken.

Against that background, the chart below will assist in determining when Insured Persons will become eligible for their full Age Pension and, thus, the Pensionable Age that will be applicable to them.

Pensionable Age Computation Chart

Year Of Birth Month Of Birth (Month Range) Retirement Year Retirement Age
1952 January – June 2012 60 1/2
July – December 2013 61
1953 January – June 2014 61 1/2
July – December 2015 62
1954 January – June 2016 62 1/2
July to December 2017 63
1955 January – June 2018 63 1/2
July – December 2019 64
1956 January – June 2020 64 1/2
July – December 2021 65
After 1956 65

(N.B. 1/2 year = 6 Months)

How to use the above chart

In order to determine the Pensionable Age for an Insured Person, first select his year of birth, then move across (in the same row) to select the Month Range during which he was born. The next two adjacent cells indicate, respectively, the year during which he will reach the Pensionable Age applicable to him and the said Pensionable Age.

For example, a person born in April 1954 will attain his Pensionable Age of 62 1/2 (i.e. 62 years and 6 months) in October 2016 – at which time he will become eligible to receive his full pension. Similarly, a person who was born in November 1955 will qualify for his full pension in November 2019 when he reaches the Pensionable Age of 64 – which is applicable to him.

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 either 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.

Pension Percentage Computation Chart

The following Chart gives the approximate pension percentage an Insured Person is likely to receive upon retirement. Please be advised that the “Number of Working Years” cited in the table is based upon the assumption that the person worked for a period of 52 weeks per year.

Number Of Full Working Years Cumulative Number Of
Contributions Paid
Corresponding Percentage Of
A.W.I.E Payable As Pension
10 500 to 549 30
11 550 To 599 31
12 600 to 649 32
13 650 to 699 33
14 700 to 749 34
15 750 to 799 35
16 800 to 849 36
17 850 to 899 37
18 900 to 949 38
19 950 to 999 39
20 1000 to 1049 40
21 1050 to 1099 41
22 1100 to 1149 42
23 1150 to 1199 43
24 1200 to 1249 44
25 1250 to 1299 45
26 1300 to 1349 46
27 1350 to 1399 47
28 1400 to 1449 48
29 1450 to 1499 49
30 1500 to 1549 50
31 1550 to 1599 51
32 1600 to 1649 52
33 1650 to 1699 53
34 1700 to 1749 54
35 1750 to 1799 55
36 1800 to 1849 56
37 1850 to 1899 57
38 1900 to 1949 58
39 1950 to 1999 59
40 2000 and over 60

Pension Calculation Program

The DSS Pension Calculation program is under development but is designed to provide an estimate of what your pension is likely to be, based on present legislation, and data currently available.