Wednesday, January 26

More than 20,000 former government employees have not claimed their pensions

The Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF), with an investment portfolio of more than R2 trillion, is the largest pension fund in Africa. The fund has more than 1.2 million active members, and pensioners and beneficiaries exceed 450,000.

The GEPF, a defined benefit fund, was established in May 1996 when several public sector funds were consolidated. The fund is governed by the Government Employees Pensions Law (or GEP Law), and is administered and administered by the Government Pension Administrative Agency (GPAA).

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Unclaimed pension benefits

Unclaimed pension benefits are defined as benefits that have not been paid for more than 24 months after the employee stopped working (the date of departure).

The GEPF said that:

Like many other industry pension funds, the Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF) also faces unclaimed pension benefits in its coffers, some of which date back to the 1990s and 1980s. ”

Unclaimed benefits date back to more than 20,000 former public employees who have not claimed their pension benefits for various reasons. The fund does not know why. This makes it difficult to locate affected members and / or their beneficiaries.

The reasons include:

  • Exit documents were presented, but payment could not be made for various reasons.
  • The affiliates and employers department stopped contributing to the GEPF and no claim was submitted to request the processing of the pension benefit.

The GEPF noted that eligible applicants for unclaimed benefits range from retired GEPF members, employees who left the public service system unclaimed, and beneficiaries of GEPF members who are no longer in service or have passed away.

“In light of South Africa’s unemployment rate, which is among the highest in the world, and a significant number of people living below the poverty line, funds like these would surely alleviate the scourge of poverty in our lives. communities across the country. ”

The GEPF invites the plaintiffs to come forward.

“Beneficiaries, for example, could use the money to go to school, while applicants could start small businesses, thus creating much-needed employment, especially for young people in South Africa.”

The GEPF has listed some of the common reasons benefits are listed as unclaimed as follows:

  • The member exit document forms, known as (Z102) forms submitted when a member leaves the fund, were either not submitted or contain errors that have not been rectified;
  • The GEPF cannot obtain a tax directive from the Sars because the tax matters of the member or the beneficiaries are not in order, for example, when they are not registered for tax or have not filed tax returns, or the member has a tax matter unsolved (s).
  • Government employees who have left their employment (therefore no longer contributing to the GEPF) without claiming their benefits. This is usually due to pending disciplinary action.
  • Benefits cannot be paid due to incorrect bank details, frozen or inactive accounts, or incorrect payment points.
  • The GEPF does not have enough information regarding the beneficiaries of deceased members, or the beneficiaries do not claim their benefits.

Interface with GEPF members

The GEPF conducts awareness and outreach campaigns to reach out to members, retirees, potential beneficiaries and guardians (clients), such as: road shows, retiree member education campaigns, mobile offices and shared locations with other service centers , engagements with community development workers, and through the media.

“Through this, GEPF seeks to address the growing list of unclaimed benefits by identifying applicants and processing their benefits promptly.”

The GEPF noted that due to the Covid-19 pandemic it has had to find new ways to interact with customers, including virtual educational campaigns.

“The response from our customers regarding the use of virtual events as well as the GEPF self-service application is encouraging. We believe that we are on our way to the intended state where all of our clients will interact with us from anywhere and at any time at their convenience. This will help speed up the processing of pension claim cases and reduce errors. ”

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