The Board of Trustees of the Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF) recently amended its rules to improve benefits for its members and pensioners. This is in line with GEPF’s stated objective of delivering timely and efficient benefits as provided for in the rules of the Fund.
Introducing the clean-break principle
GEPF is governed by the Government Employees Pension (GEP) Law. This law has recently been amended to introduce the clean-break principle in the case of divorce, or dissolution of a customary marriage.
The clean-break principle means that a former spouse can receive their share of the pension interest shortly after divorce. Before this principle was introduced, a divorce payment due to the former spouse of a GEPF member was only paid when the member left the Fund because of resignation, retirement or death (what is known as “exiting” the Fund).
With the clean-break amendment to the GEP Law and related changes to GEPF rules, former spouses do not have to wait to receive their portion of the pension interest if certain requirements are adequately met.
All GEPF pensioners are now eligible for funeral benefits
Until recently, GEPF rules only allowed pensioners who became entitled to a pension on or after 1 December 2002 to claim funeral benefits. The new rule extends funeral benefits to all GEPF pensioners, provided they were pensioners on 1 April 2012, when the amendment took effect.
Orphan’s pension benefit extended
Previously, the rules only allowed an orphan’s pension to be paid to an orphan of a deceased person who had become a pensioner on or after 1 December 2002. The new rule extends the payment to an orphan of any GEPF pensioner, provided the pensioner is still a pensioner on the effective date of the rule amendment (1 April 2012).
Spouse’s pension share can be increased
Pensioners will be given a once-off chance to reduce their pension in favour of increasing their spouse’s pension. Until recently, if a GEPF pensioner died, his or her spouse would receive 50% of the pensioner’s annuity at the date of death. The amendment allows pensioners to choose a reduced annuity so that his or her legitimate spouse can receive 75% of the annuity after the pensioner has died.
Resignation benefit improved
Until recently, when members resign they could either elect to take a cash resignation benefit or to transfer to an approved retirement fund. In order to encourage a custom of saving for the future, the actuarial interest calculation (the amount that would be transferred) was greater than the cash benefit. With the new rule, all members are entitled to a resignation benefit that is the higher of either the cash resignation benefit or the member’s actuarial interest, whether or not the member chooses to transfer or to take the benefit in cash. This amendment applies to members leaving the Fund as a result of resignation or discharge on or after 1 April 2012.
WHAT IS THE GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES PENSION FUND?
The Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF) was established by consolidating the funds of the former TBVC (Transkei, Bophuthatswana, Venda and Ciskei) states, self-governing states and various other funds, including the Government Service Pension Fund.
The GEPF is a defined benefit pension fund and the benefits are defined in term of the rules. The benefits are guaranteed and are not dependant on the investment returns of the Fund or on the level of employer contributions, and the employer generally takes the risk of poor investment returns.
WHO ARE MEMBERS OF THE FUND?
All Government employees are members of the GEPF, unless they are required by law to belong to another pension fund, or are excluded from membership of the fund. Membership of the fund terminates when a person retires, resigns, is discharged or passed away.
People who have retired from the government are also GEPF pensioner members.
We administer and manage the following benefits;
- Death after becoming a pensioner
- Spouse’s annuity
- Orphan’s annuity
- Death in service
- Normal retirement
- Early retirement
- ill health and other retirements
Conditions apply to these changes.
For more information, please contact us at:
Call Centre: 0800 117 669