Around 4.8 million South Africans have not claimed their pension benefits worth a whopping R42 billion, the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) has revealed.
Luckily, the funds are “safe and waiting for you to come forward,” Kabelo van der Merwe, the Project Lead of Unclaimed Benefits at Liberty, told Cape Talk radio on Wednesday.
Lack of knowledge
Van der Merwe cited lack of knowledge as the main reason why some South Africans are saving for their pension but not coming forward to claim the money when the time comes.
She explained, “I think it’s because of lack of knowledge and being unaware of the different avenues that need to be followed for one to claim their proceeds.”
In some cases, families do not know that their loved ones who passed away had a pension scheme. “We encourage families to have open discussions about money and investments where they have money for retirement or annuities,” van der Merwe said.
“Whatever money that you have invested, let your family know where this money is [and] should an eventuality happen, what should happen, who are the nominated beneficiaries and the process that they should follow.”
She added that Liberty alone has around R2 billion in unclaimed pension benefits that are due to roughly 100,000 members. Liberty keeps unclaimed benefits for 24 months, after which it transfers them to the state’s Unclaimed Benefits Fund.
“That’s where we house it until the member or their beneficiaries [claim] it, whether it’s [after] five, 10, 15 years, it doesn’t matter. The money is safe; it’s waiting for you or your beneficiaries to come forward,” van der Merwe explained.
How to check for unclaimed benefits
South Africans can check for unclaimed pension benefits, whether for themselves or for loved ones who have passed on, via an online search engine on the FSCA website.
The person inquiring will need to specify whether they are inquiring on their own behalf or someone else’s behalf. Details required include name, surname, fund name, name of employer, cellphone number and email address.
“The FSCA can only assist by providing the contact details of the relevant fund and/or administrator whereafter the enquirer will have to contact the fund directly and then follow the normal claims process of a fund to prove a valid claim,” the Authority states.
Other search channels include:
- Email inquiry – ID number: Pensions.UBmemberID@FSB.co.za.
- Email inquiry – general request: Pensions.UBQuery@FSB.co.za.
- SMS inquiry – ID number: 30913.
- SMS inquiry – general request: 30766.
- Fax submissions: 086 578 1183.
- Toll-free telephone number: 0800 20 3722.
- Walk-in inquiry: River Walk Office Park, Block B, 41 Matroosberg Road, Ashlea Gardens, Pretoria.
- Written inquiry: PO Box 35655, Menlo Park, Pretoria 0102.