No proof of life, no payout

2010-10-25 00:00

A MAN from Leisure Bay stopped receiving his pension for three months because he failed to prove to government officials that he is still alive.

Due to occurrences of fraud, the government has been forced to be very strict about pension and grants of other kinds.

What happens frequently, according to Vusumuzi Mahaye, spokesperson for the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa), is that when a person dies, another member of the family (or somebody other than the legitimate beneficiary) continues to collect the deceased person’s pension.

This has forced Sassa to introduce strict rules regarding pension payouts.

In the case of the man from Leisure Bay, who is only prepared to be called “Fred”, three months ago he went to collect his monthly R1 080 at a pay- point in Marburg, but was refused his pension.

He was told that he needed various documents, such as bank statements and other certificates, to prove that he is actually alive.

He said he has gone back three times in the last three months and each time he has been told that he has not got the right documents — although he has been promised he would received his pension again at the end of November.

Fred’s bone of contention is not that he minds proving his existence, but that he was not told in advance or given any prior notice that this would happen to him.

When Mahaye was asked about this he was adamant that every procedure gets put into place to avoid this happening to people who collect pensions or other grants

He offered to take up Fred’s case personally to see what had gone wrong with the system.

“It is a very complicated, but thorough system, which varies depending on a whole lot of factors like the person’s age and what kind of grant it is,” said Mahaye.

“If they are paid via a bank account then we send a letter to the address they give us and register the mail warning them in advance that they have to appear in person on a given date.

“If they pick up pension at a pay-point then they get written notice when they are paid.”

Mahaye added that people who receive pensions and other government grants should take the trouble to ensure that they understand the procedures that need to be followed so as to avoid such cases.

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