Q: Is it possible to take part of my benefits in the fund out while I am still employed in the public service?
A: Unfortunately the Fund and the Trustees are bound in terms of the Pension and Provident Funds Act, which states that members cannot use their money in the fund unless they borrow it specifically for housing purposes. There are also further limitations in that the maximum loan can only be 25% of the value of a member's benefits. Another restriction is that the fund has to charge interest and physically lend the member the money and would therefore have to set up controls to ensure that the money was repaid and recorded as such. This would lead to significant additional administration expenses and is, therefore, in the Trustees' opinion not a viable option.
Q: Why can I not take all my benefits when I leave the Fund before I retire?
A: In terms of the laws governing pension funds in Botswana, the maximum you may take as a cash lump sum on leaving the Fund prior to retirement is 25% of the value of your benefit, less tax, unless your total benefit is less than P10 000 in which case you can take the whole amount as cash, less tax. The balance of your benefit (75%), if any, must be either left in the Fund, or transferred to another approved retirement arrangement until you wish to retire. Your deferred benefit will continue to grow in value until you retire, and should you die before you retire, the value of your deferred benefit at the date of your death will immediately be paid to your dependents.
It is extremely important that if you choose to transfer to another approved retirement fund on leaving the Botswana Public Officers Pension Fund that the charges, both initial and on-going, in your new fund are fully disclosed to you, as well as the expected growth of your benefit going forward. Although you would no longer be a civil servant, you may leave your benefit in the Botswana Public Officers Pension Fund. This will continue to be invested on your behalf by the Fund's Trustees and you will receive the same growth and services as contributing members do.
Q: When I leave why can I not have a cash cheque?
A: As part of the Fund's security measures, all benefit cheques have to include the member's Omang (ID) number and bank account details under the "payee" section of the cheque to ensure that it cannot cashed by anyone other than the member who left. It is also a way of avoiding members carrying very large amounts of cash as this could lead to them being robbed and hence endangering their lives. It is therefore very important that leaving members maintain an active bank account, at least until they receive their benefit payment cheque, or payment will be delayed.
Q: Do my dependants have to meet with the fund's consultants when I die?
A: Yes, your dependants need to meet with the fund's consultants in order to determine what they want to do with their benefit entitlement with regard to the options available to them, as per the rules of the fund.
Q: What documents/information do my dependants need to provide my employer with when I die?
A: A certified copy of the death certificate, a copy of your Omang/identity card, copies of the beneficiaries/dependants identity documents (e.g. birth certificates, Omang), and contact details of all the beneficiaries/dependants.
Q: What pension benefits do my dependants get, and where do they collect them after my death?
A: If you die as a member while in service, your fund credit at the date of death shall be payable from the fund as a lump sum benefit. If such benefit exceeds four times your fund salary at the date of your death, then the balance of the benefit will be used to purchase a pension(s) from a registered insurance company.
Q: What happens to my children's benefits if they are still minors?
A: Benefits for minors are placed in a Trust where the money will be preserved until such a time that the children reach the age of 21 and only then will they have the capacity to receive their claim. Guardians of the minors are permitted to withdraw cash for maintenance.
Q: With whom do my beneficiaries follow up on the progress of their benefit claim?
A: Follow-ups by beneficiaries should be directed to the former employer of the deceased.
Q: Do I need to meet with the fund's consultants when I retire from my employer?
A: Yes, the consultants will educate you on the available pension options and also help you decide on the best possible pension to choose.
Q: What documents/information do I need to provide my employer with when I retire?
A: A completed retirement notification form, original certified copies of Omang/identity document, marriage certificate or proof of customary union if the member is married, a copy of the spouse's Omang/identity document, and member's contact details (i.e. telephone, address).
Q: How much cash do I get, where do I collect it when I retire?
A: You are entitled to one-third of your final updated fund credit as a cash lump sum, net of any outstanding tax. The cheque can then be collected at your former employer's office.
Q: Do I pay tax on my monthly pension payment?
A: Yes. In terms of the laws governing pension funds in Botswana, monthly pension payments are treated as normal income and you will therefore be liable to pay tax on these amounts.
Q: What happens to my two-thirds?
A: Your to-thirds will be used to purchase an annuity/pension from the fund or from an insurance company registered in Botswana. A pension is treated as taxable income and will to you on a monthly basis for the rest of your life. This amount primarily depends on the amount of the two-thirds.
Q: Can I calculate what my pension will be if I know what my fund credit is?
A: Unfortunately not. The amount of your monthly pension is largely dependant on interest rates at the time you retire. Interest rates change daily and therefore you cannot tell what they will be when you retire.
Q: Can the monthly pension payment stop before I die?
A: No. Your monthly pension payment is guaranteed by the Fund or the insurance company to be paid to you for at least the remainder of your life.
Q: Can I have a monthly pension that will increase each year?
A: Yes. At retirement you can choose whether you want your pension to increase each year. For example, you can elect a pension with an annual increase of 5% or 10% per annum.