Owen Sikanda

The Government Institutions Pension Fund (GIPF) is a defined benefit scheme with guaranteed pension benefits. The Fund guarantees a monthly pension upon retirement, and a monthly pension for life to spouse(s) of deceased members. One of the Fund’s key values is “service excellence” and in order for GIPF to achieve this, government institutions and participating employers are critical stakeholders who are tasked with providing vital information to the Fund through their Human Resource (HR) practitioners.

The HR practitioners are also encouraged to contact the Fund when the need arises to schedule HR practitioners training.
GIPF believes that HR practitioners are the first contact to our members and should be knowledgeable about the Fund’s benefits to provide accurate information, advice and to enable them to efficiently assist our members during the pension benefit claiming process.

The aforementioned training is aimed at educating HR practitioners on the following:
* The GIPF Rules,
* Pension Fund Act,
* Admissions and Amendments,
* Retirement and Resignation Benefits,
* Retired Member’s Medical Aid,
* Death Benefits and Funeral Benefits,
* Unclaimed Benefits,
* Data Integrity,
* Benefit Claiming Process.
The training for HR practitioners is an ongoing process in coaching, through which the GIPF provides information on the changes in pension regulations, benefit claiming processes and challenges faced by the Fund which impacts on service delivery to our members.

Some of the factors in the processing of benefit claims which should be avoided, and which result in delayed benefit payments are as listed below:
* Incomplete benefit claims submitted,
* Member records which are not updated,
* Beneficiary Nomination forms not completed,
* Untraceable beneficiaries,
* Incomplete full birth certificates,
* Lack of information to retiring members on medical aid.
Additionally, the Fund has recently amended the funeral claim submission procedure.
GIPF now accepts completed funeral claims submitted electronically via email.
Funeral claims submitted electronically are acknowledged and processed in the shortest time possible, thereby eliminating the need for the claimant to come physically to the GIPF office. These claims can either be submitted by a Human Resource practitioner from a GIPF participating employer or the applicable claimant.
Moreover, GIPF requests each claimant to kindly submit the funeral claim with original certified supporting documents within a period of 10 working days. The abovementioned amendment to funeral claims is inspired by the Fund’s Vision of being a leading and model Pension Fund globally and by living its service excellence value of delivering the Right, Fast, and Humane quality service to all its stakeholders in an innovative, professional, and respectful manner.

In conclusion, it is pivotal for every GIPF member to ensure that their member records are up to date such as their full names, identity numbers, marital status, admission date and beneficiary nomination forms among others. If this information is updated
and provided on time, the Fund will be able to pay the member’s benefits timeously and this will result in achieving service excellence.

* GIPF Head: Benefits Administration