In 1965, the ruling Antigua Labour Party Government realized the need for more adequate provision for the Nation's indigent population and articulated in its five-year (1966 - 1970) Development Plan, its intention to replace the existing Poor Relief System with a National Provident Fund.
In September 1970, the Government passed the National Provident Fund Act. Subsequently to that, a request was made to the International Labour Office (ILO) for expert assistance in the designing and structuring of the Fund and in framing the necessary legislation. The ILO responded by making available the services of Mr. James Grives, an expert from the United Kingdom, to facilitate the process. However, the establishment of the National Provident Fund was never realized.
The General Elections in 1971 resulted in a change of government in the following year, 1972. The new Progressive Labour Movement administration commissioned a thorough study of the implications and recommendations contained in the Grives Report. On 11th July 1972, the Social Security Act was passed. Antigua and Barbuda became the first OECS country to have introduced a Social Security System; and, the fifth functional Social Security System in the English-speaking Caribbean.
The Social Security Act included provision for the payment of pension at age 60; invalidity and survivor's pensions, as well as sickness, maternity and funeral benefits. Provision was also made, at the time, for the introduction of employment injury benefits, which were provided under the Workmen's Compensation Act. To date, there is no regulation to facilitate this benefit.
On 13th September, 1972, the ILO appointed Mr. S. C. J. Laundy of the United Kingdom, an expert in Social Security Legislation and Administration, to an initial 12-month assignment, which was subsequently extended to 30 months. Also, Mr. F. G. Smith, an Actuarial Adviser, was assigned on 22nd October 1972 for a period of 12 months. Mr. George Goodwin, Snr. was appointed Acting Director, after which Mr. David Kelsick was appointed Director.
The newly established Social Security System, under the portfolio of the Ministry of Labour, opened its doors to the public on 2nd April 1973. Initially, there was strong resistance on the part of employers and employees alike. However, an intensive, wide-spread public relations campaign was mounted to educate contributors to the benefits of the Social Security System; and, to dispel their fears.
In 1984, the Organization relocated into its own four-storey headquarters on Upper Long Street, erected on land purchased from the Catholic Church. During 1998, a subsidiary office was opened on the sister island of Barbuda providing the island's contributors with similar services to those provided at the Head Office.