National Housing Trust (NHT) refunds for the year 2011 are now available for application. What the hell does this mean? It means if you were paying NHT fees as a part of your paycheque (or contributing on your own) in the year 2011 or earlier, you can now apply to the NHT for a refund of these fees.
That's right, extra money, what a way to start the new year!
So, How Do I Apply?
Refund applications are best done via this link. Fill out the information there and your refund application will be submitted for processing along with you being notified by whatever method you chose (email, text message, etc). Note, you'll need to know your TRN and NIS number in order to complete the application.
Who Gets Refunds?
NHT contributors (who do not have current mortgages with the NHT) are entitled to receive a refund of their regular contributions in the 8th year after the contributions were made. So again, if you contributed to the NHT in 2011, you should now (in 2019) be able to apply for a refund of all contributions made during that year.
What if I own a house?
First of all, congratulations, you have achieved part of the Jamaican Dream. If you have a current mortgage with the NHT however, your refund is automatically applied against your mortgage balance. There is an exception made here for public sector workers. For the past few years public sector workers have been able to receive payouts of their refund contributions. So go ahead and apply.
How will I get my money?!
Well the NHT currently pays refunds through 5 methods:
An account held in your name, in any Jamaican commercial bank
The NCB Prepaid Keycard
JMMB Money Transfer ($165 fee)
JN Money Transfer Services ($300 fee)
Victoria Mutual Money Transfer Services ($160 fee)
So the simple bank account method is the one most people choose. Of course people overseas or people who might just want straight cash can use any of the other services. Those who don't have a bank account can use the NCB Prepaid Keycard option, which is also good.
When will I get my money?!
Kudos to the NHT for having a transparent process that not only updates you once the refund is paid (though sometimes it tells you a few days after the money has been sent), but also for having a process checker that allows you to see the status of your application. More government agencies should do things like this. The link to the tool to check the status of your refunds is here. They say that the refunds should be available within 2-3 weeks of applying. I got mine within that timeline (or a little earlier I hadn't realized that the transfer had been done and I'm not used to any government agency being EARLY!)
What should I do with it?
Ah the big question. What to do with it. Anything you want, but I would recommend one of 2 things. Debt reduction or investing. That last one is great too because if you invest it right (stocks, stocks, stocks) then you can grow significantly. For example, a $50,000 NHT refund gotten in 2016 and invested in JETCON in March of that same year, would currently be worth $299,997 (as of 26th Jan 2018). That's a 600% increase in value in less than 2 years. I would advise you to put that money into stocks very quickly. Here's a guide to getting started with investing on the Jamaica Stock Exchange.
So enjoy your money once you get it, and if you haven't been working long enough to actually get refunds yet, fret not, your time soon come. Hit me up in the comments section or on Twitter if you have any feedback or questions.
[Updated to add 2019 info]