Woman receives maternity-benefit payment after staging mother-and-baby picket at the Social Security Scheme

The actions of a mother who picketed the Social Security Scheme on Monday, December 19, have proved fruitful, as her outstanding maternity benefit has now been paid.

Bearing a placard – which read, “Why should I have to wait 6, 10, 12 months for my benefits?” – Onesha Elvin, along with her 10-month-old son, staged the picket outside the Scheme’s headquarters.  

The action was intended to highlight her plight: that – 10 months after giving birth and despite persistent calls to the Scheme – she still had not received a single maternity-benefit cheque.

Following the picket, however, the currently unemployed mother reports that she was called to collect her cheque from the Social Security office the following day.

Elvin says she is truly grateful for the swift action taken by management, who resolved the issue after she met with a manager on Monday.

She is also expressing appreciation to those who called or messaged to congratulate her for standing up for what is duly hers.  Pointing out that it takes only one person to effect change, she is encouraging other mothers to follow her example if they are still waiting for their benefit cheques.

According to Elvin, “A few mothers would have messaged [her] to say their child is one year old and they have not received their benefits.”

Therefore, she is hoping that her action will serve as a catalyst to prevent future issues.

During the picket, Elvin noted the current cost of living, pointing out that baby items, including formula and diapers, are expensive.

Just recently, Finance Minister Gaston Browne told the public that Social Security pensions, as well as other benefit payments, were up to date.

Following the announcement, the mother of a seven-month-old told REAL News that she called the Scheme to inquire about her benefit payment.

She says the clerk admitted that the staff had been taken by surprise at Browne’s statement, since the payments, in fact, are not current.   

“I wish he wouldn’t have said that; and we’re so upset,” the clerk reportedly said, since the staff had been fielding such calls all day.