NSSA extends pensioneers grants claim

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THE new year has brought with it for those who failed to claim in time their National Pension scheme retirement grant, survivor’s grant or invalidity grant an opportunity to submit or resubmit their claim.

Grants are payable to contributors to the scheme or their beneficiaries when they become entitled to a National Pension scheme benefit but contributions have not been made for long enough to entitle them to a pension. Normally grants must be claimed within five years of the claimant becoming eligible for the grant.

However, National Social Security Authority (NSSA) is allowing those who failed to submit their claims within this period to submit their claim during the course of 2014.

Those who already submitted a grant claim in the past that was rejected on the grounds that more than five years had elapsed since they became eligible for it can re-submit their grant application during the course of 2014. It is important to note that the claims must be lodged this year.

No claim that is submitted more than five years after the person claiming it became eligible for it will be considered after the end of this year.

It is also important to note that those who submitted grant claims in the past that were rejected because they were submitted late must resubmit the claim or make a fresh claim.

There will be no automatic review of those claims.

It is up to the person whose claim was rejected to make a new claim or re-submit the old one. Only those that were rejected due to late submission will be reconsidered.

The gazetted regulations governing claims made under the Pensions and Other Benefits scheme set a limit of five years within which grants can be claimed.

However, as public awareness has increased concerning the benefits that can be claimed under this scheme, it has become evident that many people failed to claim the grant they were entitled to simply because they were unaware either that they were eligible for a grant or that there was a five-year limit for lodging a grant claim.

As a result NSSA decided that, since it was purely through ignorance that many people had missed the opportunity to claim a grant that they would have been entitled to had they submitted their claim within the statutory five years, it would like to give them a second chance to submit their claim.

Since it was unable to do that in terms of the gazetted regulations governing the operation of the Pensions and Other Benefits scheme, it had to ask the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare to gazette regulations to override the original regulations.

The result was the publication in the Government Gazette of October 4 last year of Statutory Instrument 144 of 2013, which suspends for one year from January 1, 2014 the part of the original regulations that limits to five years the period within which a Pensions and Other Benefits Scheme grant can be claimed.

What that means is that between January 1 this year and December 31 this year grants can be claimed by those who at some point were entitled to them but failed to claim them within the normal five year period.

After the end of this year the maximum five year period for claims will be applicable once more.

The minimum contribution period for a retirement pension or survivor’s pension is 120 months. Where contributions were made for less than that but not less than 12 months, a grant is payable.

Grants are single lump sum payments. They are only paid to those who do not qualify for a pension.

The minimum contribution period for an invalidity pension is 12 months. A person who has contributed for between six months and 12 months and who becomes eligible for an invalidity benefit receives a grant instead of a pension.

To be eligible for an invalidity benefit a contributor must be below the age of 60 and have become permanently incapable of work as a result of his or her physical or mental health.

To be eligible for a retirement benefit a contributor must be 65, whether retired or not, or over the age of 60 and retired or, if he has worked in an arduous occupation such as farming, quarrying, heavy truck driving and some mining and forestry jobs for at least seven of the previous 10 years, aged 55 and no longer working.

To be eligible for a survivor’s benefit, a person should be the spouse, child or other previously named dependent relative of a contributor or pensioner who has died.

Those likely to benefit most from the special concession allowing late claims to be submitted this year are those whose deceased husbands, wives or parents were contributors to the National Pension Scheme operated by NSSA and who passed away more than five years ago without any relative subsequently claiming within five years of their death the survivor’s grant to which they were entitled. The opportunity being offered them to submit their claim this year or, if they already submitted a claim that was rejected because it was submitted late, to resubmit their claim only exists for this year and is unlikely to be repeated.

lTalking Social Security is published weekly by the National Social Security Authority as a public service. There is also a weekly radio programme, PaMhepo neNssa/Emoyeni leNSSA, discussing social security issues at 6:50pm every Thursday on Radio Zimbabwe and every Friday on National FM. There is another social security programme on Star FM on Wednesdays at 5:30 pm.

Readers can e-mail issues they would like dealt with in this column to mail@mhpr.co.zw 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.

4 COMMENTS

  1. Thank you NSSA for your communication with your clients.
    Keep up the good standard but you should also send award of
    pension letters so that one would be aware of payments made.

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