By Moshood Ayeni
In this piece, I looked at what those would be retirees (and any other active worker) should concentrate on to help them get their retirement benefits processed easily without delays that some usually encounter.
Retirement should be a thing of joy really. After having worked for some couple of years or decades, claiming ones retirement benefits should not be a thing of hard-labour. Unfortunately, this is not the case for some in reality as we have come to experience. Some RSA holders also make this difficult for themselves by not doing what they should have done before retirement.
It should be noted that majority of the work is done pre-retirement. After retirement however, consolidation on the pre-retirement activities or processes is what is expected from the RSA holder if everything had been done properly from the onset.
What we have found in reality is that most people leave the important pre-retirement era only to focus on the retirement phase and by this time it could pose some challenges or unnecessary delays due to inability to do what was required of them earlier.
Majority of the requirements are supposed to be concluded before retirement itself. Below are what is expected of the RSA holder to do before retiring to forestall any kind of delays in the processing of his/her retirement benefits:
- Making sure that all personal data and information supplied to the Pension Fund Administrator (PFA) are correct. Personal data such as first name, surname, date of birth, mobile number, address, NIN, etc should be submitted correctly to the PFA. For those who have participated in the Data Recapture Exercise (DRE), almost all the information would have been submitted already to the PFA. However, for those who have not participated in the DRE, it is extremely important that they do so immediately especially if they joined the contributory pension scheme (CPS) before July 2019. The rule now is that before any retirement benefit is processed, the RSA holder must have had his/her data recaptured.
- Update personal details where there is a change. For instance, for someone whose name has changed for marriage or other reasons, such should be communicated to the PFA so that all relevant databases are updated. This is very important and crucial because payment will only be made to a name that corresponds with the one on the database of the PFA and PenCom.
- Review the RSA statement and ensure all missing contributions have been paid. Some RSA holders have had their monthly contributions deducted but not remitted. This kind of issue should be resolved by the RSA holder as soon as it is discovered. One of the ways to do this is to contact the pension office/desk or the finance department of his/her organization to resolve it immediately. You can read up more on how to get this resolved here in our previous publication on this.
- Notify the PFA ahead of your retirement. A notice of retirement should be given to the PFA by the would-be retiree at least 6 months before retiring. Although this is not a compulsory requirement, however, this will enable the PFA make adequate preparation for the retiring individual. As a way of ensuring smooth retirement transition process, the PFAs usually invite the intending retiree for a walk-through on what to do and is expected when retiring. This is in a bid to make sure that the intending retiree is aware of what is expected of him/her and also to help them begin to look at areas where he or she should seek necessary assistance from.
- Ensure that all documents are intact and safe. Some of the documents required for benefits processing at retirement include notice of retirement/disengagement letter, retirement acceptance letter, letter of termination of employment, etc. The safe keep of all these relevant and important documents cannot be overemphasized. Proper record and documentation is key to forestall unnecessary delays and arguments that can delay timely processing of benefit requests.
After a worker has retired fully, the next thing is to begin the processing of benefits payment proper. The worker has a choice between staying with the PFA or buying an Annuity product with his RSA balance from an insurance company. Some of the retirement benefits available are En-Bloc payment, Programmed Withdrawal, 25% payment and Annuity. You can read more on these different products here in a previous publication.
In any case, before retirement benefits are processed, the retired worker will need to fulfil some requirements. Some of which are:
- That he/she is 50 years old and above at the date of retirement or has satisfied the requirement if he or she retired before clocking 50 years; and
- That all required documentations have been concluded as required.
Having satisfied the above , the retired worker will approach his PFA and submit all information and documentation that is needed by the PFA to process his retirement benefits. Retirement benefits will be paid to the retiree once all of the above is done successfully. All retirement benefits will be credited to the retiree bank account including subsequent pension payments on a periodic basis as agreed either monthly or quarterly.