The purpose of funeral benefits is to help pay the funeral costs when a member or pensioner passes away. Funeral benefits are also paid out on the death of the spouse, life partner or eligible child of a member or pensioner.
Wherever possible, the GEPF will process a funeral benefit claim within 72 hours of receiving the claim. However, the payment can be delayed if the claim form or the documentation accompanying a claim is incomplete or incorrect. In order to allow the GEPF to process the claim quickly and efficiently, the claimant must ensure that the information provided is complete and correct.
Who qualifies for the funeral benefit?
- The GEPF provides benefits for the funeral of a member or a pensioner, as well as for the funeral of a spouse or eligible child of a member or pensioner. For a member, pensioner or spouse, the fund pays a taxable amount of R15 000 towards the funeral costs.
The Government Employees Pension Law defines a qualifying member, pensioner and spouse as follows:
- A member is a person who:
- Is currently contributing to the GEPF. People contributing to associated pension funds such as the TEPF (Temporary Employees Pension Fund) or AIPF (Associated Institutions Pension Fund) do not qualify as there is no provision for funeral benefits in the legislation that determines the rules of those funds; or
- Is absent with or without leave of absence; or
- Has been suspended from duty and who immediately before such absence or suspension was contributing to the Fund; or
- Is a dormant member.
- A pensioner – is defined as being a person who:
- Is receiving a monthly annuity from the GEPF.
- A member is a person who:
If a member retires or exits the Fund but does not qualify for a monthly annuity, he or she does not qualify for a funeral benefit after leaving the service of government.
[It is very important to note that GEPF does not and cannot make unilateral changes to the Government Employees Pension Law. These changes are negotiated in the relevant bargaining councils and are subject to extensive scrutiny before approved.
The role of GEPF is limited to making submissions about proposed changes and the impact of these to the bargaining councils and to Parliament.]
- A spouse of a member or pensioner – is defined as being a person who is:
- Legally married to the member or pensioner as defined above; or
- A spouse according to indigenous law or custom. A certificate of customary marriage, lobola letter, or two affidavits from each family confirming the customary union is required. Lobola letters and affidavits confirming customary marriage must specify the place, date and parties of the customary union, and also the lobola paid; or
- A spouse according to the tenets of religion, that is Muslim or Hindu marriages or
- An approved life partner. (Where the applicant or the deceased is a life partner, the life partnership must be approved by GEPF before processing can take place. If the life partnership has not yet been approved, a Life Partner Application document must be completed and attached to the funeral benefit claim, along with all the prescribed attachments for both of the documents. The Life Partner Application form is available on this website, or a copy can be requested from the toll-free Call Centre on 0800 117 669.)
- A spouse of a member or pensioner – is defined as being a person who is:
- GEPF pays a taxable cash lump sum of R6 000 for the funeral of an eligible child of a member or pensioner as defined above.
According to the Government Employees Pension Law, an eligible child is:
- A natural or adopted child under the age of 18 years; or
- A natural or adopted child between the ages of 18 and 22 years who is a full-time student at a recognised educational institution (proof from the relevant institution is required); or
- A natural or adopted child who is disabled and factually dependant on the member or pensioner as defined above – medical proof of disability and confirmation of factual dependency is required; or
- A still-born child. This is a child born after 26 weeks of pregnancy, who shows no signs of life and whose death cannot be classified as a self-inflicted termination as per the Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Act 92 of 1996. A written confirmation of the duration of pregnancy and the death certificate, as issued by the attending physician and hospital, is required.
It is important to note that step-children and children of other family members who are in the care of a member or pensioner as defined above, do not qualify for this benefit unless those children have been legally adopted.
Who can claim the funeral benefit?
The GEPF will accept a claim from the following people, in order of preference:
- A member;
- A pensioner;
- The spouse of a member or pensioner;
- A major child of member or pensioner;
- The guardian of a minor child of a member or pensioner. A minor is a child who cannot administer their own affairs and so the guardian acts on their behalf;
- The parent or parent in-law of a member or pensioner;
- A brother/sister or brother-in-law/sister-in-law of a member or pensioner; and/or
- The executor of the estate of the deceased.
Please be aware that no payment will be made to a funeral undertaker.
Documentation needed when claiming:
To process and pay the funeral benefit, the GEPF needs the following documents from claimants:
- A fully completed Z300 form (Funeral Benefit Claim Form). An original certified copy of the death certificate issued by the Department of Home Affairs;
- In the case of a still-born child, written confirmation of the duration of pregnancy and the certification of death issued by the attending physician and hospital;
- An original certified copy of the deceased’s bar-coded Identity Document (ID) or passport or birth certificate in the case of a minor child;
- An original certified copy of the bar-coded ID or passport of the person applying for the benefit;
- For payment into a bank account, the Z894 form containing the bank details is needed;
- When the claim is submitted by fax, the Z894 must be accompanied by a certified bank statement showing the bank’s e-mail and landline contact details. These contact details will be used to confirm the bank account details provided;
- For payment through the Post Office the details of the online Post Office must be provided on the Z300 form. Applicants must confirm with the Post Office that it is an online Post Office. Please be aware that the original application and attachments must be handed in at the Post Office when claiming the benefit. If the original documents are not handed to the Post Office, payment will not take place.
Where applicable, the following additional documents must accompany the funeral benefits claim:
- If the spouse is the deceased or the applicant: an original certified copy of the marriage certificate, proof of marriage according to religious tenet, certificate of customary marriage, lobola letter, or two affidavits from each family confirming the customary union. Lobola letters and affidavits confirming customary marriage must specify the place, date and parties of the customary union, and also the lobola paid.
- If an adopted child is the deceased or the applicant: an original certified copy of the adoption order stating the names of the adoptive parents.
- If the benefit is payable to the estate: an original certified copy of the letter of executorship and the Z894 for Banking Particulars Form reflecting the estate’s banking details. When submitted by fax, the banking details form must be accompanied by a certified bank statement showing the e-mail and landline contact particulars of the bank. These contact details will be used to confirm the account details provided. A certified copy of the ID of the executor of the estate is also required.
- If the deceased is a biological or legally adopted child, and the child was a full-time student over 18 years but under 22 years: the originally certified proof of full-time registration from a recognised educational institution.
If the deceased is a biological or legally adopted child who was over the age of 18 and was disabled and dependent on the member or pensioner: the originally certified medical proof of disability, along with proof of factual dependency.
- If the surname of the applicant is different from that of the member or pensioner: an affidavit explaining the relationship, for example, that the applicant is the married daughter of a deceased member.
- Where the applicant or the deceased is a life partner: the life partnership must be approved by GEPF before the claim can be processed. If the life partnership had, at the time of death, not yet been approved, a completed Life Partner Application form to be attached to the funeral benefit claim, along with all the prescribed attachments for both documents. The Life Partner Application form can be downloaded from this website or copy can be requested from the Call Centre (0800 117 669).
How the funeral benefit is paid
The funeral benefit can be paid into a bank account or through an online Post Office. In the interest of fast, efficient processing, the following needs to be provided:
- For bank payments: The Z894 (Banking Particulars Form) must reflect the applicant’s banking details. When submitted by fax, the application must be accompanied by a certified bank statement showing the bank’s e-mail and landline contact details.
For Post Office payments: The claimant must confirm beforehand with the Postmaster of the Post Office they wish the payment to be processed to, that said Post Office is indeed an online Post Office. Details of the Post Office must be recorded on the Z300 application form. Please be aware that the original application and attachments must be handed in at the Post Office when claiming the benefit. If the original documents are not handed to the Post Office, payment will not take place. The original ID/passport documents of the applicant must be presented at the Post Office.)
- Faxed applications
Applications can be faxed to GEPF for processing. The fax number is 012 319 3655. Please be aware that this fax number is to be used for funeral benefit claims only. Applicants are urged to confirm the quality of the fax machine being used. This can be done by faxing a document to a known number and then confirming that the document received on the other side is clear and readable.
If the staff of the GEPF receives a fax that is of poor quality, but where contact details can be discerned, we will SMS, or notify the applicant by other means, that the claim could not be captured due to the poor quality of the fax received.
- Applications must be accompanied by the completed checklist attached to the Z300 form. Please use the checklist to ensure that all the required documents are included, have been recently and correctly certified and that all the documents are clear and readable. This is in your best interest and prevents unnecessary delays in the processing of claims.
- Please mark every page of the application form with the pension number of the member or pensioner, and mark it “Funeral Benefit Claim”. You should do the same when responding to an error letter or when providing other feedback about your claim. Please place this information in the right-hand top corner of each page, as incoming faxes to GEPF are automatically bar-coded on the left-hand top corner.
- Provide accurate contact details
- For verification purposes, please ensure that the GEPF has the landline and e-mail contact details of the bank or institution where the payment must be made. We also recommend that you confirm with your bank beforehand that this verification is in order, as delays in verification will cause delays in the processing of claims.
- Where at all possible, please ensure that the GEPF has your secure cell phone and e-mail contact particulars as these will be the preferred contact details we will use to notify you about payment or errors on the claim form. If you do not want an SMS or e-mail to be sent to a specific number or address, do not provide details of these.
- Please do not reply to SMS or e-mail notifications from GEPF. Instead, you can direct any enquiries to our toll-free Call Centre on 0800 117 669.
Life partner applications
- Life partner applications must be duly completed and approved before a funeral benefit will be processed, and this can take some time. If payment is urgent, an eligible applicant other than the life partner should complete the claim.
Tax on funeral benefits
The funeral benefit is taxable. This is because, unlike private sector funeral policies, GEPF members and pensioners do not contribute toward the benefit. For this reason, the benefit is considered to be income and as such, payment cannot take place until SARS has issued a tax directive.
If SARS declines to issue a directive, you will be informed accordingly and should then resolve the issue directly with SARS. Please note that the GEPF cannot circumvent this requirement and cannot assist in resolving the issue with SARS as tax matters are private between individuals and the Revenue Service.
Post Office payments
- Payments must be claimed within 30 days of payment to the Post Office. When collecting the money at the Post Office, you must hand in the original documents that were faxed to the GEPF.
- If payment is not collected within 30 days, the Post Office will return the money to GEPF. Once this has happened, GEPF will only reissue the payment to a bank. This means that you will have to provide banking details on an original completed Z894 form. This form must be accompanied by an original certified copy of the ID of the account holder. For payment to an estate account, we also require a recently certified copy of the letter of executorship and a recently certified copy of the ID of the executor. No faxes will be accepted for the reissue of funds.
Eligibility is the key to qualifying
- Funeral benefits are payable regardless of the order in which the deaths of the people covered occurs. For example, if the member and spouse both pass away, the eligible children will be covered as long as they are still minors, students or disabled, as explained earlier.
- There is no maximum number of spouses or eligible children who qualify. The benefit covers all spouses and all eligible children, provided that they meet the definitions of “spouse” or “eligible child” as discussed earlier.
- Where both partners in a marriage or approved life partnership are members or pensioners of GEPF, both are entitled to lodge claims following the death of a covered person. For instance, after the death of an eligible child, both parents may lodge claims if both are members or pensioners of the Fund.
- Likewise, should either of them pass away, the surviving spouse will be entitled to lodge a claim as spouse of a deceased member or pensioner, while also lodging a second claim as a member or pensioner of GEPF, for the death of his or her spouse. In such cases two claim forms will be completed under the pension numbers of the deceased and surviving spouse, respectively.
All forms are available on this website, from GEPF’s Call Centre (0800 117 669) or from any of GEPF’s Regional Offices.