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Thursday, September 29, 2022
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Retiree Pension Bonuses Out By Month's End

 Lottery Director Conrad Francois, Sen. Carlton Dowe, retiree Yvonne E. Moolenaar, Gov. deJongh and GERS Administrator Austin Nibbs.A $2.2 million check written out this month to the Government Employees’ Retirement System will bring, for the second year, pension bonuses for close to 6,000 local government retirees.
Officials on St. Thomas gathered at Government House Monday to receive the check during ceremonies that Gov. John deJongh Jr. said were held to signify a "commitment to the territory’s retired citizens and their quality of life."
Because of Lottery’s annual contribution, the retirees will receive individual checks totaling $380.62, which they will receive by the end of the month, according to a press release from Government House. The payment, an annual 3.5 percent pension bonus, was born out of an initiative sponsored by Sen. Carlton "Ital" Dowe, whose bill mandating Lottery to transfer $2.27 million each year from its net collections as a funding source, became law last June.
The goal of the annual payment is to give retirees on fixed incomes a little more flexibility, helping them to offset the rising cost of living in the territory with some extra money to pay for necessities such as food and medication — expenses officials have said that many seniors are now having a hard time covering.
"For retirees already living check to check, there is little recourse but to hope for the best," deJongh said in a statement Monday. "We owe it to our elders to find ways to ease their financial strain and to improve their standard of life."
DeJongh also encouraged more partnerships, such as the one between GERS and Lottery, saying that it serves as an "innovative example" of an opportunity for "collaboration and mutual assistance" between various government agencies.
Joining deJongh at Monday’s ceremony was Dowe, along with Sen. Celestino A. White Sr., Lottery head Conrad "Ricky" Francois, GERS Administrator Austin Nibbs and local retiree Yvonne Moolenaar.

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