Islanders Want To Help Fund Ageing Population

13th March 2018
Islanders would be happy to increase their Social Security contributions to sustain an ageing population, according to an independent report.
2,675 members of the public completed a consultation that looks at how the system will need to change and adapt in the coming years.
Respondents also approved keeping bereavement and parental benefits, and called for higher earners and employers to pay more.
Social Security Minister Deputy Susie Pinel says one result about means-testing surprised her.
“In the maternity and the survivors benefit, most of the respondents (8 in 10) said that they didn’t want to be means-tested, even if it meant that they had to increase their contribution. It’s very interesting because mean-testing would make it cheaper for the fund pay out, but people didn’t want that.”
Respondents also demonstrated positive support for retaining these contributory benefits:
  • More than 8 out of 10 respondents wanted to keep the bereavement benefits (Survivor’s Allowance, Survivor’s Pension and Death Grant).
  • More than 7 out of 10 respondents wanted to keep the parental benefits (Maternity Allowance, Maternity Grant and Adoption Grant).
These results are in line with the response to the first consultation (2016: Living Longer: Thinking Ahead) which confirmed strong support for maintaining the old age pension.
7 out of 10 respondents agree that people should have to pay contributions for a longer period before being able to claim a contributory benefit, with 5 years being the most popular option.
The consultation included 8 workshops and key ideas from those discussions included:
  • There was strong support for higher earners and employers to pay more contributions on higher wage levels
  • The eligibility rules for benefits are too complicated
  • New residents in Jersey face a confusing set of rules around accessing benefits and services after different periods. These should be simplified.
Further work will be undertaken in 2018 with all the results feeding into the next Strategic Plan of the new government and the Medium Term Financial Plan that will be agreed in 2019.
Deputy Pinel says this information provides a clear indication for the department going forward.
“It’s clear to understand the fact that people want to keep the bereavement and parental benefits and wanted to stay at pretty much the length of time at which they’re put at the moment.
“It is comforting to think that we’re not too far off the mark, but certainly when we start putting all the results together, it will become very clear the direction in which the public wants us to go.”
The report is available here.

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