The chairman of the Social Security Board, Doug Singh explained that services provided by SSB that are not urgent will not be carried out. He says new registrations or renewal of cards are not being encouraged at this time in order to minimize the traffic at the SSB offices and to protect their workers.

Doug Singh, Chairman, Social Security Board: “I spoke with the CEO last night and she expressed some of the concerns that many of the staff at Social Security has. Now remember Social Security is an essential service so we have to keep our doors open and our staff needs to be there to provide the service to the public. This is an unnerving time and understandably her staff there is a state of not just confusion but real concern and the board of directors and the management of SSB must take this into consideration and do everything we can to ease the burden on our staff. One of the things we’re doing is installing glass screens to create a barrier so that our staff don’t get ill in the case of contact with anyone with COVID-19 who comes in and makes claims etc. and that they can be there to provide service to the rest of public. In addition to that we’re trying to minimize the public needing to come to the office. Two of the main reasons why our lobby tends to have so many people in it one of them is registration and the other is the renewal of cards. So we’re suspending registration services because that’s not an urgent service if there’s an urgency for it of course we’ll entertain it but in most cases if you’re just registering to be under the Social Security for benefits for a very long time any way, fifty contributions. So the need for an urge for registration is not urgent. The second one is for renewal of cards. Now the main reason you Social Security number does not expire so as far as employment is concerned you’re really unaffected by it, it really is the issue of a valid ID why individuals do come in to renew their cards and we’ve changed that now to make the new cards not expire so what we’re asking certainly the institutions that require the individual to have a valid ID is to bear with us during this challenging time. We do want to suspend the service of providing renewed cards to individuals so that they don’t have to come into the office and we minimize the number of people that come in, ensure that we meet this social distancing requirement and all that kind of stuff and at the same time provide the essential services we need at this point in time.”

There were several other decisions made at the National Oversight Committee meeting held yesterday. The Prime Minister will hold a press conference on Wednesday, March 25 to flesh out the details of that meeting. Love will bring live coverage of tomorrow’s conference.

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