I thought Social Security is an establishment where people would happily enter and come out with their dues after you have worked for years for their hard-earned monies but this turned to be hell for me. I have had a bitter and unpleasant experience with the Social Security since I filled their form early February 2018 regarding my benefits. All efforts to get my money up to now still remain a remote possibility as at 10/09/18.

Below is the way the story went.

I submitted filled Social Security form with the following attached documents as part of their requirements.

Filled Social Security benefit form signed, dated and endorsed by my employer with the school official stamp.

One passport size photo.

A copy of my passport indicating my nationality and age.

Notarized with seal Affidavit of Financial Claim from Justice of Peace (JP)

A copy of my Social Security ID Card

Based on their unnecessary hidden and unreasonable law that I should wait for cooling period of three (3) months which I did even though I have not seen any sense in that as they don’t wait for cooling period of three months or so to join the scheme once I was employed in private sector and besides does it makes any sense to any right person to force a jobless person to wait for a cooling period of three or six months? I personally think not. Is he going to feed on grasses and cockroaches all these while? How can they sit on peoples’ money behind their unnecessary laws? How can they convince credible institutions to send in their employees’ contributions with their cheap gimmicks? How can they deny someone from not taking his money which he has genuinely worked for? Why didn’t Social Security put their hidden laws on the page at the time of joining the scheme? Their unnecessary hidden laws only appear when a beneficiary claims his/her money. These unnecessary hidden bad laws are purposely meant to suppress the beneficiaries so they cannot get their entitlements. Social Security is an enemy to progress of beneficiaries who contributed their hard earned monies. I have proof to indicate how they held me back and frustrate my plans this year.  I have never stood in a bank for two hours for any transactions even with the former continent Bank, why should the Social Security take months to process beneficiaries’ entitlements? Why do beneficiaries sit for three or six consecutive months in the name of unnecessary cooling periods before they can get their monies? How does Social Security expect a person to survive during all these period while not working? Are beneficiaries and their families going to feed on grasses and cockroaches all these while? With this computer age, can Social Security create a data system where they can run a query for those who are due at least three months prior to their retirement age? They will sit in their offices in their numbers just to start struggling when a beneficiary knocks their doors to ask them for his/her entitlements The mere fact that they struggle to pay beneficiaries is either an indication of their care free attitudes towards beneficiaries with whose monies they use to feed themselves and their families or there is nothing in their coffers to pay the beneficiaries. The Social Security must instead give some money to beneficiaries during their so called cooling period to appreciate them for helping them feed them and their families with their hard earned monies.

I approached Social Security in April again 2018 only to be told that they need a letter from my employer to justify that I am the right person claiming for my money without which I will not have my benefits when they saw the attached documents. Is it employees” business to write on behalf of the former employer or force the employer to write? What has an employer’s letter to do with the employees’ benefits? How can they victimize an employee because someone (employer) has not done his job correctly?  I gave my employer a period of one week to fill the form.  She filled it, stamped it with school’s official stamp, dated it and gave it to me. What ambiguity are they talking about in this sense when they are just office detainees and failed to do their findings? These are among the bad laws that present governments promised electorates to eradicate way back in 2016 during their campaigns. The government of the day must try to ensure that care free attitudes towards work must be eradicated.

I went back to my employer who unfortunately was out of the country and probably on her sick bed at the time because last time I saw her in her house, she told me that she had a major operation. I spoke to the current principal of the school so I can have the letter from the school as every single effort to reach the proprietress remains a remote possibility. He then referred me to the school Administrator because he told me that he cannot do anything in the absence of the proprietress or without her orders.

When I approached the administrator, he told me that he cannot equally do anything in the absence of the proprietress. He then told me to send an email to the proprietress which I did and up to now I have not received any response from the proprietress. A week later, I called the administrator on the phone and asked if the Proprietress sent him any messages or information regarding the letter. He replied that he has not received any response from the proprietress. Why should I go through all these hardship in pursuit of my legitimate money when Social Security members are just office detainees?

I went back to Social Security in Banjul and explained the situation to someone who identified himself as Saikou at the beneficiary unit of Social Security in Banjul who told me without any manners that he will not process my pay. This man was talking as if I have come to beg some money or borrow money from him or Social Security. He was behaving as if he is the owner or inherits Social Security from his family members.

When I further asked to state the reasons, he was quick to tell me that he has a meeting to attend and gave me back my documents and this time the copy of my Social Security ID Card detached and missing. I further told him to go with me to my former place of work because the school is still in existence, he replied no, emphasizing that it is not their mandate to do that but what surprised me most was that they never hesitated to make it their mandate to quickly run to my former place of work at top speed like racing cars to take our photos and issue us a Social Security ID Card at the school. How credible and fair is their mandate? They have the mandate to collect monies but have no mandate to pay the beneficiaries their entitlements. What a contradicting mandate!!

What is more ridiculous to me above all about Social Security, they are unnecessarily arguing on an irrelevant issue that was not on the page at the time of joining the scheme and not any time in my life that they orientate or sensitize the beneficiary the procedures, simply because I wouldn’t listen to them much more to join the scheme. It is easy to join the scheme but very difficult to get benefit / entitlements when you attain the qualified age. What a wicked and fake scheme! People should take to the street to condemn their unnecessary laws. I will take the lead.

Interestingly, Saikou was quick to tell me that Social Security does pay people who are less than 45 years because maybe he thought I was going to name a person in this category. When further asked if Social Security will further process or pay someone who worked in a company that is not in existence. He answered yes, and yet still failed to give me any name yet. If a person from an existing company spends about eight months to struggle for his money and cannot get it, I wonder how many centuries will it take a family member of dead person from non existing company to get his money from such a fake and cruel scheme.

Furthermore, I visited Social Security way back in August 2014 for my print out of statement when I was out of job; I realized that a full 14 consecutive months of my contributions were missing. The whole of 2013 and two months in 2014 were not recorded and the only reason advanced to me is that the contributions for 2013 are not yet in their system. They cannot deny this as I have a copy to justify this. Is Social Security truly working for beneficiaries or for themselves? In this regards, are we not right to call them Self Security.

I further told Saikou that I cannot force the school to write and if they fail to write, this must not hinder any process of my hard earned money because I have given my employer ample time to process and besides I have provided more than enough grounds from my own ends to them. It is abundantly clear that the school endorsed my form with a stamp and the Social Security is playing a game so I leave my hard earned money with them. Is Social Security saying that the employers’ letters will guarantee and qualify a beneficiary to have his money?

Social Security is heartless in holding and delaying responsible people’s money considering the economic meltdown of the Gambia. Is this the change of Government people have been looking for? Social Security must be redefined as Self Security. Where is the sense for the government of the day to discourage Gambians to travel through back way when the poor are deceived and suppressed every tick of the clock. Gambians voted so the bad laws of the country under Jammeh regime are changed. It is unfortunate that the same worse laws are in existence. Let us face the reality. I have not seen any sense in voting Jammeh out when the worst laws are still on the ground. They dare not do this during Jammeh epoch.

All efforts to see the managing director on the 17th and 20th August, 2018 turned to be a fruitless endeavor by his secretary. I was surprised how hurriedly they opened my letter in that early hour of the day. The secretary said the letters cannot be handed directly to the Managing Director which I complied. I gave the letter to one of their registrars as directed by her secretary who walked up to the secretary and gave it to her which she confirmed before leaving. They quickly collected my phone number pretending to call me soon but I have never received any calls yet. As I know that I won’t be called, on Monday, 20th August 2018 I did the follow-up only to be told by the secretary that she gave it back to the registrar. The registrar said he sent it to other sub – directors and have not returned it. Let me see the director, they said no. This was the day they I was told that they sent a reply to the Office of Ombudsman. It will be interesting the content of what I have discovered from what they said. This man who told me that he sent a letter to the office of the ombudsman was completely out of touch of the reality on the ground and didn’t know what was around him in their institution. How can he write to the ombudsman that I did not submit when my documents were given back to me in April?  The envelope containing my documents was stamped”received” by a Social Security staff.  I shall attach the copy of a envelope to prove this man wrong on request.

Let us have a look at the imperfection of their logic. Social Security says in their phone call in Radio programs at West Cost Radio they have no business with employees’ termination because they were absent when the employer and employee had reached agreement but may I ask them the following,

What business or mandate do they have to deny someone access his entitlements if termination letters are not submitted?

Are they not aware that employees in Central Government go for voluntary retirement at the age of 45, why Social Security is saying no to beneficiaries from the private sector?

What business do they have to ask people their mode of termination which they say will determine their mode of payments after attaining similar age?

What business do they have to chase both the employers and employees to pay in their monthly contributions?

Do they think they are better managers of our own monies than we are?

Do they think that we also don’t want to develop ourselves?

Are they God to guarantee that a beneficiary will live for 60 years?

Are they not aware that some employees less than 45 years are foreigners and may like to return based on the nature and magnitude of the problems back home (in their country)? What will happen to their unclaimed monies?

Are they not aware that people have different investment plans in many different worthwhile ventures after 45 years? How sure are they to say that a beneficiary will plan to seek another job within their so called cooling period?

How sure are they to think that everyone in the country wants to work for people for the rest of their lives? Social Security must be reasonable.

Do they really want to be bribed before we get our monies?

Social Security (Self Security) must understand that beneficiaries are not responsible for their all forms of inward fights as well as their financial and administrative bugs. Social Security must understand that are gone those days when people keep quite over serious issues affecting their lives.

Mr. Malamin Dembajang Tel: 7915619

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