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NIS clears air on Suresh Lallbeharry matter

Claims by Suresh Lallbeharry, a 56-year-old Bath Settlement man that his National Insurance Scheme (NIS) case was shut down after he raised a matter with Vice-President, Bharrat Jagdeo, at a Cabinet outreach in April have been disputed by the scheme.

According to a memo from NIS, claims sought by Lallbeharry did not find favour with the Medical Board of the scheme since February 2022, which was way before the Vice-President’s outreach in Region Five.

Lallbeharry, who had a matter before the NIS Medical Board on May 20, was told that a ruling against him was upheld. He, however, has since sought to attribute the verdict to a video which surfaced of him questioning Vice-President Jagdeo about NIS’s failure to increase the benefits of retired workers.

The memo from NIS noted that Lallbeharry’s appointment at the Medical Board did not have anything to do with the outreach held by the Vice President, “since his request for a review by the Medical Board was made prior to that outreach”.

“For Mr. Lallbeharry’s case to be reviewed, he has to submit fresh evidence from a specialist informing of any deterioration of his condition,” the document noted.

After being diagnosed with epileptic seizures in 1997, Lallbeharry had been deemed incapable of working and eligible for Invalidity benefit from NIS in 1999. However, his case was later reviewed in October 2011 and it was determined that he was no longer eligible for invalidity benefit based on a specialist report.

According to the NIS regulations, Invalidity benefit is granted to a person who is considered permanently incapable of any type of work, as determined by the NIS Medical Adviser or Medical Board.

Lallbeharry’s case was subsequently reviewed in August 2014, at which time he was once again deemed eligible for invalidity, and his benefits resumed. Lallbeharry has since maintained that he should have been paid for the period October 2011 to August 2014.

However, his case was reviewed by NIS and on February 7, by way of letter, it was communicated to him that NIS had upheld the determination that he was not entitled for benefits during the period identified. His case was referred to the Medical Board for the medical question of invalidity during the relevant period to be determined.

“The question of invalidity is a medical question. The Medical Board of the National Insurance Scheme is not the National Insurance Board. The Medical Board is a panel of medical specialists, who are independent of the National Insurance Scheme and to whom medical questions are placed,” the memo explained.

Lallbeharry was later given the date, May 20, for his appointment before the Medical Board, NIS clarified. However, this had to do with availability and not because of the outreach.

According to NIS: “There were several cases awaiting the availability of the Medical Board Doctors and his case was placed before the Medical Board on May 20, 2022.”

On May 20, Lallbeharry went before the NIS Medical Board where he was once again informed that the Medical Board also ruled that he was not entitled to benefits during the period he is making a claim for.