When a contributor to the National Social Security Authority (NSSA) pension and other benefits scheme dies, a funeral grant of $200 is payable to the person meeting the funeral costs.
The application for the grant can be processed while the person applying for the grant waits. Payment is made there and then, provided he or she has the required documents.
There is a single form, the P9/P10 form, that has to be completed for all benefit applications, including the funeral grant.
Where the funeral grant is concerned, it has to be completed by the person meeting the funeral costs and the contributor’s employer.
The documents that are required are certified copies of the death certificate or burial order and the claimant’s national identity card or driver’s licence or passport. The burial order is only accepted within seven days of the person’s death. After that the death certificate has to be produced.
Provided the person claiming the grant has all these documents and the P9/P10 form duly completed, the application can be processed and the payment be made while the claimant waits.
That means it is possible to actually use the grant for the funeral rather than having to find the money first and seek a refund afterwards, unless the money is needed at a weekend or on a public holiday.
Only two visits to the NSSA office are required, one to collect the form and the other to submit the form together with the necessary documentation.
Two visits are generally needed, because of the need for the employer to fill out part of the form.
The grant is payable for the funeral expenses of any contributor who dies, provided contributions have been paid for more than 12 months.
The spouse of the deceased contributor or pensioner and dependent children are entitled to a survivor’s benefit, which will be either a grant or pension depending on how long contributions were paid for.
The spouse is only eligible for the benefit, however, if she/he has not contributed to the cause of death and is not in receipt of another pension from a previous marriage.
Contributions have to have been made for at least 120 months (10 years) for a pension to be paid. If the contribution period is less than this, a grant is payable, provided contributions were paid for at least 12 months.
If the deceased person was already retired, then the spouse is only eligible for the benefit if married to the contributor before he or she retired.
Dependent children are children below the age of 18, older dependent children below the age of 25 who are in full time education or disabled dependent children, regardless of age.
If there is no surviving spouse and there are no dependent children, the parents of the deceased contributor can claim the survivor’s benefit.
If there are no surviving parents either, then any other dependant may claim the benefit, provided they were being supported financially by the contributor. Generally such a dependant will have been registered as such with NSSA.
The survivor’s pension is normally 40% of the pension that the deceased contributor would have been entitled to, which depends on the contribution period and the contributor’s insurable income on retirement or death. The insurable income is the income on which contributions are calculated.
However, the minimum survivor’s pension is $20, which is 50% of the minimum pension paid to those who have reached retirement age.
The benefit should be claimed within 12 months of the death of the contributor, using the standard P9/P10 benefit application form. The form must be completed by the person lodging the claim and the contributor’s employer.
The documents that have to be submitted together with the application for a survivor’s benefit are certified photocopies of the claimant’s national identity card or driving licence or valid passport, death certificate of the contributor or pensioner, marriage certificate, if the claimant is the spouse, and long version of the birth certificates of children under 18 years of age.
If a guardian is claiming on behalf of children under the age of 18, then a certificate of guardianship should be provided as well.
A survivor’s grant is a once-off payment. A survivor’s pension is paid for the rest of the survivor’s life except in the case of dependent children who only receive the benefit up to the age of 18 or 25, if in full time education until then, unless they are disabled, in which case the pension is payable for life.
Applications can be submitted at any NSSA office. If a contributor has been out of work for some time and his or her last employer can no longer be traced, the NSSA office should be advised of this.
NSSA should be able to use the contributor’s social security number or national identity card number to confirm the contributor’s employment record.
Employers submit monthly contributions for all employees together, without detailing the names of each employee.
They are supposed to make annual returns confirming the employment dates of individual employees during the year.
If they fail to do that, it may be difficult for NSSA to confirm the individual’s exact contribution period without the employer filling in the P9/P10 form. If there are salary slips showing deductions of the pension scheme contributions that will be helpful in proving that contributions were made.
.Talking Social Security is published weekly by the National Social Security Authority as a public service. There is also now a weekly radio programme, PaMhepo neNssa/Emoyeni leNSSA, discussing social security issues every Thursday at 6:50pm on Radio Zimbabwe.
Readers can e-mail issues they would like dealt with in this column to email@example.com or text them to 0735 041 278. Those with individual queries should contact their local NSSA office or telephone NSSA on (04) 706517-8 or 7065235.