There are 309 GIPF members or beneficiaries who have not yet claimed their benefits although they are entitled by law to do so.
The Government Institutions Pension Fund (GIPF) offers various benefits to its members. These include Normal Retirement, Early Retirement, Resignation (also applicable to dismissal), Retrenchment, Disability benefit, Ill-Health Retirement, Death and Funeral benefits.
These benefits become due at the time when a member exits the fund.
If, however, a member leaves service and does not claim his or her benefits on time, such benefits will remain in the fund for as long as regulations allow.
“To date, approximately 309 members are still to claim their benefits from the Fund. Such benefits, if not claimed for a period of five years or longer, shall be paid over to the Guardian Fund held at the Master of the High Court, and such beneficiaries shall have no further claim against the GIPF,” GIPF’s manager for operations, Ms Anna Hambuda, said without explaining whether the members are presumed to be dead or not.
“Ordinarily, the benefits claiming process commences at the employer’s Human Resources departments as all personnel files are with employers. The completed benefit claim forms and other supporting documents are then submitted to the GIPF.
“It is critical to note that the Fund can only pay benefits once a claim has been completed, approved, signed off by GIPF participating employers and submitted to the Fund with all relevant supporting documents attached.
“However, what causes delay in benefit payout is when the HR Practitioners and the members fail to complete the relevant benefit claim forms at the time when members exit employment. This delays the whole claiming process which leads to members getting frustrated.
“Once members leave employment, it becomes a challenge to the Fund to trace them in the event of missing relevant information.”
For a member to claim his or her benefits, the member should follow steps such as by contacting the previous employer’s HR Department, complete the claim form and submit the required supporting documents.
“It is critical to note that GIPF does not have or appoint agencies or consultants to act on its behalf. As such, the GIPF does not recommend the use of a consultant to claim their benefits.
“Members are advised to approach the Fund directly for any fund related information. In the same vein, members are cautioned that when they are receiving service from GIPF, they are not allowed to pay any fees to anyone as what they would when making use of consultants,” Hambuda said.
In the photo: Anna Hambuda Manager for Operations at GIPF.