ASSOCIATED BENEFITS FOR MEMBERS

This section deals with some additional benefits currently provided outside the Fund for Fund members.

The benefits covered in this section are:

SPOUSES’ LIFE INSURANCE BENEFITS

The Pension Funds Act prevents the Fund from providing life insurance benefits for the spouse(s) of Fund members, because a retirement fund is not allowed to pay a benefit in respect of someone (a family member) who is not actually a member of the fund – you are a Fund member, but your spouse(s) are not.

The spouses’ life insurance benefit is therefore provided for by a separate insurance policy, outside the Fund. The cost of this insurance however forms part of the 4.8% of pensionable salaries that the State provides for insured benefits for political office-bearers.

The material in the web-site represents only a summary of the main terms of the insurance policy, which are very complex and may change from time to time. In the event of a dispute arising, reference will have to be made to the policy contract, which will take precedence.

In this section, you can find out more about:n

Who is eligible for this cover?

Cover is compulsory for all contributory Fund members. The life of your Qualifying Spouse is insured in terms of the policy, up to age 89, provided you are married at the commencement of the policy, or otherwise from the date of your marriage if later.

What is the definition of spouse?

A Qualifying Spouse is any person/s with whom you are joined in marriage. “Marriage” means:

  • a marriage or union in accordance with the Marriage Act, 1961, the Recognition of Customary Marriages Act, 1998, or the Civil Union Act, 2006, or the tenets of a religion; or
  • a union where two persons are living together as if married, with the commitment to continue to do so permanently, provided that they have been doing so for at least six months;

If deemed necessary by the insurer, a committee convened by National Treasury will decide if a particular union meets the requirements to be regarded as a marriage for the purposes of the policy. Our expectation is that the Fund Trustees (or a sub-committee of the Trustees) will carry out this function, when necessary.

When does the insurance cover cease?

Cover on the life of your Qualifying Spouse ceases:

  • 24 hours after your own death; or
  • as soon as you cease to be a contributory Fund member (i.e. when you leave office); or
  • as soon as the Qualifying Spouse attains the age of 89 years.

What benefit is payable?

If your Qualifying Spouse dies before attaining the age of 89 years, an amount equal to one times your annual pensionable salary – divided by the number of qualifying spouses at the date of death – is paid to you.

It is important to understand what this means: if you have two “qualifying spouses” at the time when one of them dies, then the benefit that you will receive will be one-half of your annual pensionable salary. If you have three “qualifying spouses” at the time when one of them dies, then the benefit will be one-third of your annual pensionable salary – and so on.

The number of qualifying spouses must be verified by the committee referred to above. (In practice, the Fund Trustees or a sub-committee of the Trustees will carry out this function).

(Remember that pensionable salary is not the same as your Total Remuneration Package.)

Will my spouse(s) need to provide evidence of good health?

There is a “Free Cover Limit” (FCL) set by the insurer, above which a Fund member’s spouse will be required to provide medical evidence of good health, in order to qualify for any portion of the insured benefit which is above the FCL. Cover up to the FCL is provided without any medical requirements.

At this stage, the insurer has set the FCL at such a level that no members’ spouses will need to give medical evidence to the insurer.

If this changes in future, we will advise members.

What is the deadline for claims submission?

Claims must be notified in writing to the insurer within 6 months of the date of a Qualifying Spouse’s death.

If your spouse dies and you believe that he or she qualifies for the spouses’ life insurance cover, you should contact the Fund’s administrator who will help you to submit the claim to the insurance company.

Are there any other exclusions?

The insurer will decline a death claim if death is “directly or indirectly” due to “active participation in war, invasion, acts of foreign enemies, hostilities, warlike operations (whether war be declared or not), civil war, rebellion, revolution, insurrection, civil commotion assuming the proportions of or amounting to an uprising, military or usurped power”; “the use of nuclear, biological or chemical weapons, or any radioactive contamination”; “attacks on or sabotage of facilities [examples are given] and storage depots, which lead to the release of radioactive or nuclear, biological or chemical warfare agents”.

These are standard conditions that all the insurers will seek to apply. We are not able to negotiate more generous conditions from the insurers.

For legal and tax reasons, the benefits that are described in this section cannot be provided directly by the Political Office-Bearers Pension Fund and are therefore not dealt with in the Fund Rules. Instead, these benefits are mainly provided by means of insurance policies that National Treasury arranges with various insurance companies for the benefit of political office-bearers (members of the Fund).

Parliament and some of the Provincial Legislatures have arranged accident cover for members. We do not have details of these arrangements and so they are not dealt with in this member guide. Similarly, we do not deal with Medical Aid benefits (Parmed) here.

Disclaimer

  • The information in this guide does not constitute advice by either the Board of Trustees or its professional advisors. Members are encouraged to seek expert advice from a personal financial advisor before taking decisions regarding their benefits.
  • The Fund will try to ensure that the material in this guide is up to date and accurate, but this cannot be guaranteed at all time
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