When a national pension scheme contributor or pensioner dies, the surviving spouse is entitled to a survivor’s grant or pension, depending on the contributor’s contribution period.
Talking Social Security with Nssa
There is also a survivor’s benefit for the contributor’s children.
If the pension scheme member contributed to the scheme for 120 months or more, then the surviving spouse and children would be entitled to a pension.
The husband or wife of the deceased contributor receives 40% of the pension the contributor would have been entitled to. The children receive a further 40%.
That means the spouse and children together receive 80% of the pension that the contributor would have been entitled to or, if the contributor was already a pensioner, was receiving.
The minimum survivor’s pension is currently $20, but it will be going up with effect from August 2013 to $30, which is 50% of the new minimum retirement pension of $60 per month which also takes effect from 1 August 2013. The pension is paid for the rest of the spouse’s life.
The children’s pension is payable where there are children below the age of 18 or, if they are still in full time education, below the age of 25. The pension may be provided in respect of permanently disabled dependent children who are incapable of supporting themselves, regardless of their age.
If the contributor was contributing for less than 120 months but at least 12 months, a grant is paid instead of a pension. A grant is a once only lump sum payment.
A correspondent recently wrote that her husband died in 2010 leaving three children.
She said his relatives were not supporting her efforts to obtain the survivor’s benefit. She wondered what she should do.
The support of her husband’s relatives is not really necessary, unless it is required to confirm her marriage, if there is no marriage certificate, or unless they are the ones in possession of her husband’s death certificate.
However, claims are supposed to be lodged within 12 months of the contributor’s death in the case of a survivor’s pension and within five years in the case of a grant. Pension claims submitted late may be accepted but, if approved, are backdated only to the date the claim was received by NSSA. Claims for grants are not accepted after more than five years from the contributor’s death.
To claim the survivor’s benefit, one needs to complete NSSA’s P9/P10 form and submit it to NSSA together with certified photocopies of one’s national identity card, the death certificate of the deceased contributor or pensioner, the marriage certificate or original affidavit, if it is the spouse making the claim, and the long version of the children’s birth certificates.
Certified photocopies of the claimant’s valid driving licence or passport may be used in place of the national identity card.
If a guardian is claiming on behalf of children under the age of 18 then a certificate of guardianship is also required.
It is generally the spouse and children to whom the survivor’s benefit is paid. If there is no spouse and there are no dependent children, the benefit may be paid to another relative, such as the deceased person’s parents. However, such a dependent should have been registered as a dependent with NSSA.
A funeral grant is payable to the person responsible for meeting the funeral costs. The claim must be submitted within five years of the contributor’s or pensioner’s death.
The funeral grant is currently $200 but goes up to $300 with effect from August 1, 2013. It should be claimed using the P9/P10 form, which should be submitted to NSSA with a certified copy of the death certificate or burial order and a certified copy of the claimant’s national identity card, passport or driving licence. Funeral grants can generally be processed and paid while the claimant waits, provided the claim form is submitted with the correct supporting documents.
There were two questions recently from temporary teachers who had contributed to NSSA. One wanted to know whether a person who had worked as a temporary teacher for eight years and been contributing to NSSA, could receive any benefits from NSSA.
The answer here is that anyone who has contributed to NSSA for 12 months or more is entitled on retirement at the appropriate retirement age to a retirement benefit. The benefit will be a pension if contributions were made for 120 months or more. It will be a grant if contributions were made for less than that.
Should the contributor die, the surviving spouse and children or other dependents registered with NSSA are entitled to a survivor’s benefit. A funeral grant is also payable.
The other question was from a final year student at a teachers’ college who had been a temporary teacher for the past 10 years working on a contract basis and contributing to NSSA. He/she wanted to know what happens now that he/she is a final year student at a teachers’ college.
Hopefully this person will, after completing the teachers’ training, obtain a job and resume making contributions to the NSSA Pension and Other Benefits Scheme.
He/she will, like other contributors, be eligible for a retirement pension or grant on retirement after the age of 60 or at age 65 whether retired or not.
Whether he/she receives a monthly retirement pension or a single lump sum payment will depend on whether he/she has by that time contributed for the minimum period of 120 months required to obtain a pension. Should he/she die before then, a survivor’s benefit would be payable to the surviving spouse and children or other registered dependents, if there is no spouse or children.
Talking Social Security is published weekly by NSSA as a public service. There is also a weekly radio programme, PaMhepo neNssa/Emoyeni le NSSA, discussing social security issues at 6.50 pm every Thursday on Radio Zimbabwe and every Friday on National FM. There is another programme on Star Fm every Wednesday after 5,30 pm. Readers can e-mail issues they would like dealt with in this column to firstname.lastname@example.org or text them to 0772 307 913. Those with individual queries should contact their local NSSA office or telephone NSSA on (04) 706517-8 or 706523 5.