Millions of South Africans may not be aware of the money owed to them due to retirement savings they have not claimed.
That’s money they saved by contributing to their retirement funds during their working years, says Liberty Retirement Fund.
“Pension fund administrators are now hard at work trying to track down these former pension fund members or their beneficiaries to make sure they are getting the money they are owed,” the group said.
He said that for more than a decade the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) and pension fund administrators had tried to solve the problem of unclaimed benefits.
An unclaimed benefit is any benefit which was owed to a member of a pension fund within the meaning of the rules of the fund, which is not claimed by the member or the beneficiary within 24 months from the date to which the benefit has become legally due and payable to a member.
The unclaimed benefits are as follows:
- Withdrawal compensation – following termination of employment, dismissal or resignation;
- Death benefit – when the beneficiary has been identified but does not claim his service;
- Excess benefit – a benefit that has become payable following a distribution of the fund’s surplus to active and former members of the fund;
- Retirement benefit – following a withdrawal from the fund.
The pension fund industry has estimated that at least 4.8 million people in South Africa have not claimed the money owed to them, which collectively amounts to at least R42 billion.
The regulator has made significant progress, however, Liberty said.
He introduced a search engine where the public can check if they have any unclaimed benefits due.
Since the implementation of the unclaimed benefits search engine, around 1.2 billion rand in asset value has been paid to more than 14,000 members after valid claims were submitted to the relevant funds, said Kabelo van der Merwe, Liberty Unclaimed Benefits Project Manager.
Who is entitled to unclaimed benefits?
Employees of companies who have contributed as members of pension funds during their employment and have not claimed or received their benefits upon termination of employment, are entitled to unclaimed benefits.
This also applies to beneficiaries of former participants who did not claim or receive their money for various reasons.
“A significant portion of the former Liberty Fund members live in remote rural areas, so it can be difficult to find them,” said van der Merwe.
“Many more have been registered with their respective pension funds using incorrect or incomplete information, such as a date of birth instead of the full ID number or passport number, which makes them even more so. hard to find. “
Liberty said that even if agents on the search team are successful in locating these people, the public can help speed up the process.
“We ask the public to take a few minutes to check whether they or their loved ones have any benefits due to them, so that we can start the payment process,” said van der Merwe.
How can I check if I have an unclaimed benefit?
There are different ways to find out if you have an unclaimed benefit due:
- Visit the FSCA website, which has an integrated search engine to check whether benefits are owed to you.
- Visit the the site of freedom and add your or your parent’s details for quick and easy verification.
- You can call the Liberty Contact Center on 011 558 2999 or visit one of our Liberty offices or satellite branches located across the country.
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