Over R456m of unclaimed benefits for government employees

FEBRUARY 10, 2015

Acting Government Pensions Administration Agency (GPAA) Chief Operations Officer, Jay Morar, says there is about R456 million worth of unclaimed benefits for Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF) members, as of December 2014.

Briefing media on Tuesday, Morar said the money translates into approximately 17 000 individual cases.

“Provincial departments account for R271 million, while national departments account for R185 million… We (GPAA) are the first to admit that one untraceable case is too many and is giving us countless sleepless nights,” he said.

Morar said GPAA is faced with a challenge of unclaimed benefits, due to bank rejections wherein GPAA is unable to rectify incorrect banking information as the client is untraceable.

He said some of the challenges include cases that are submitted with incomplete documentation by departments; unclaimed funeral benefits; and other unclaimed benefits (as the member’s tax affairs are not in order, there are incomplete documents, disputes among others).

He said the majority of unclaimed benefits are in KwaZulu-Natal and most of them belong to poor or previously disadvantaged categories of people in rural areas, who do not know that they have benefits due to them, including their beneficiaries.

Tracing beneficiaries

Morar said GPAA has approached the Department of Home Affairs and credit bureaus to assist in tracing beneficiaries of unclaimed benefits.

“We have embarked on a tracing initiative in which we have engaged the services of a tracing company. To this end, through this company, we have managed to record modest success,” he said.

He said GPAA staff members also conduct first-level tracing, which includes using the minimum information at their disposal to call anyone who might be related to the untraceable beneficiary.

“We have [also] started preliminary discussions with the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) on how it can support and assist us in our tracing initiatives,” said Morar.

Increased accessibility

Morar said GPAA has been piloting the (modernisation) paperless project in the past two years, in which all documents are submitted electronically.

“To date, modernisation has made substantial progress with our Business Payment Automation project during the year, particularly with eChannel, the electronic ‘post-box’ system for delivering exit documentation directly from employer departments to the GPAA,” he said.

Morar said GPAA is in a process of increasing satellite offices across the country, including in Venda, QwaQwa and Rustenburg.

“More satellite offices will follow in the near future,” he said. - SAnews.gov.za