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20 medically challenged retirees got 2011 pension — PenCom

By on March 10, 2013

Twenty workers who were forced out of their paid employment due to health conditions in 2011 are now drawing about N1.99m every month from their compulsory pension savings.

The affected workers had earlier been paid a total of N17.02m as lump sum shortly after their retirement.

The figure obtained on Friday from the latest annual report of the National Pension Commission, indicated that the retired workers were from both public and private sectors.

The commission also stated that in the last three years, no fewer than 26,000 sacked workers had withdrawn a quarter of the money in their Retirement Savings Accounts with their Pension Fund Administrators.

Although the Contributory Pension Scheme is designed to provide financial security for workers in retirement, the Pension Reform Act 2004 gives conditions under which part of the funds can be withdrawn before retirement age.

The commission said it had “approved payments of N17.02m and N1.99m being lump sum and monthly pensions, respectively to 20 retirees who retired on medical grounds from both the public and private sectors.”

A breakdown of the figure, according to the commission, shows that  the private sector organisations have 81.36 per cent of those that retired on medical grounds, followed by Federal Government workers with 16.95 per cent, while state workers have 1.69 per cent.

The commission said the retirement benefits were approved based on the advice of qualified physicians.

It also said a properly constituted medical board certified that the employees were no longer mentally or physically capable of carrying out their official functions.

Some of the requirements for the benefits, it was learnt, comprised a notice of retirement from the employer indicating that retirement was based on medical grounds; the pay slips for three months before retirement; a filled retirement form of the worker’s PFA; and a bank document for confirmation of account number.

Other requirements are a letter from the employer confirming that all outstanding monthly deductions were remitted for private workers; evidence of accrued pension rights such as retirement bonds issued by PenCom for public employees; PenCom retirement indemnity form for public workers; four passports; birth certificate or sworn affidavit; and medical report from a certified doctor.

Available figures also showed that the trend of retrenched workers applying for pensions since 2009 had been on the increase.

According to the report, about 3,329 persons who lost their jobs before reaching the approved retirement age of 50 years and could not secure another employment after six months were given approval to withdraw N351m from their RSAs in 2009.

Out of this figure, 206 persons are from the public sector while 3,123 people are from private sector.

In 2010, the number of laid-off workers that withdrew a quarter of their pensions totaling N1.2bn in accordance with the law rose to 8,057. The public sector accounted for 471 persons, while 7,586 workers were from the private sector.

Also in 2011, 11,883 retrenched workers got N1.82bn as part of their pensions.

The breakdown showed that about 11,349 workers were from the private sector; while 522 workers were from the federal and 12 from the state civil service.

Although the total figure for 2012 has not been released, it was discovered that N469.2m was paid to 2,643 people in the middle of the financial period.