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Members of the audience who attended the NIS seminar for hearing impaired persons, at the National Union of Public Workers headquarters, Dalkeith, St. Michael, last evening. (S.Medford/BGIS)

A number of hearing impaired persons were given the opportunity to express their concerns regarding the National Insurance Scheme (NIS), when the National Disabilities Unit (NDU) hosted a seminar entitled Services and Benefits for Hearing Impaired Persons, last evening. Insurance Officer of the NIS, Heather Millar, who was assisted by Interpreter Heather Grazette-Corbin, discussed the various services which are offered by the department. She explained that the benefits are available to every individual, regardless of his or her ability, but noted that there were allowances for persons who were unable to work due to their disability.

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Heather?? Gazette-Corbin, interpretes for audience members who attended the NIS seminar for hearing impaired persons, at the National Union of Public Workers headquarters, Dalkeith, St. Michael, last evening. (S.Medford/BGIS)

"If a hearing impaired person is working or is self-employed, he or she is entitled to the same services or benefits as any other working individual, subject to the rules and regulations of the National Insurance Scheme and Social Security Scheme.

"On the other hand, if a hearing impaired person is incapable of working, he or she can apply for Non-Contributory Pension at age 18. This application must be accompanied by certification from a medical practitioner stating that the individual is incapable of working," Ms. Millar explained.

She also alluded to employed persons who developed a hearing impairment as a result of an accident, or whose impairment has worsened, hindering them from working, and noted that an Invalidity Benefit would be available to them.

The officer further expressed the need for a better means of communication between members of the NIS Department and persons who are hearing impaired, but pointed out that information concerning their benefits could be accessed through the NIS portal.

Third-year social work student and organiser of the seminar, Manda Boyce, explained that the event evolved from a suggestion from Acting Director of the NDU, Lloyd Springer and interaction with members of the hearing impaired community. She stated that there was "a need for dialogue with the NIS Department because many of them [hearing impaired persons] were experiencing challenges with that department".

sharifa.medford@barbados.gov.bb

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