Death Benefits

There are 4 kinds of death benefits:

1  Your Woolworths Group Retirement Fund

  • Your total fund credit: all of your money saved in the Woolworths Group Retirement Fund.
  • 4 times your annual pensionable salary (70% of your TCOE for TCOE employees)

Who gets PAID?

The trustees have set up a Death Benefit subcommittee comprising three trustees, the administrators and an independent chairperson. The subcommittee meets quarterly to review claims for the past 12 months.

The Pension Funds Act states that the Trustees have a duty to distribute this money to your financial dependants. This is in terms of Section 37c of the Act. There is no nomination form for this. The trustees do a thorough investigation over a 12-month period to establish your financial dependants and their degree of dependency.

How DO we do IT?

On receipt of the death certificate, the Risk Benefits Department in Woolworths starts calling your family to form a picture of your dependants and their degree of dependency. Proof is required to show dependency.

Once we are happy with the information, we prepare a proposal that is presented at the quarterly trustee meeting, where the trustees have the final say.

What we consider

In most cases where there is a spouse, the funds are paid to the spouse to care for the family. In some cases, the spouse shows that he or she is not competent to handle the money and is not fulfilling his or her family responsibilities. In this case, we would place the money in a trust for the children.

YOUR children

For minor children, especially those of a single mother, the funds will be placed in a trust.

To assist this process, identify who the guardian of your children would be in the event of your death. Not doing so beforehand will delay the finalisation of the claim and leave your children without funds to be cared for.

Single moms should have a will in which they declare who the guardian of their children will be. You can also do an affidavit and keep this with your important papers. If there is no guardian, the courts need to decide who to appoint and this takes forever!

2  Group Life Assurance (GLA)

  • Twice your annual pensionable salary paid as a lump sum.

Every month you contribute 0.87% of your salary to Group Life Assurance. This scheme pays out a lump sum equal to twice your annual pensionable salary in the event of your death. The payment is tax free.

You complete a Nomination of Beneficiary form and you tell us who to pay and what percentage to pay. This is entirely in your hands and it is vital that your form is always up to date.

It is important to update this form after any of the following events:

  • You get married or divorced.
  • Birth of a child.
  • Death of a beneficiary.

NOTE: If you are single and have no financial dependants, the Trustees may take the Nomination of Beneficiary form into account when allocating your Woolworths Group Retirement Fund Death Benefits.

Remember that you are responsible for this and we cannot stress enough how important it is to keep your form up to date.

Your updated form needs to be signed and sent to your HRA who will record it on PeopleSoft.

3  Funeral Benefit (for your funeral)

  • R20 000 to be used for your funeral or wake.

Woolworths provides a R20 000 funeral benefit, but this is only for YOUR funeral.

  • You nominate two people on the Death-in-Service Nomination form and send it to your HRA.
  • One of these two people needs to bring your death certificate to work and send it to the Risk Benefits Department in Cape Town.
  • The money will be paid out to the nominated person and must be used towards your funeral.

As the benefit is paid out in cash, it is vital that the people you choose are people you can trust – we had a case recently where an aunt used the money to settle her debts and there was nothing left with which to bury her niece! Don’t let this happen to you.

If you want ADDITIONAL family funeral cover
Go onto Imbizo and search for the Momentum funeral scheme. You can then apply to have your family covered by a funeral policy. You will have to be included in the cover as well, but as funerals are expensive, the additional cover will not go amiss.

4  Woolworths Memorial Education Fund

  • Your children's school fees and college or university fees are paid

This is an excellent benefit. On your death, the Woolworths Memorial Education Fund steps in to pay the school fees for your children – right up to and including tertiary education. The benefit starts from Grade R.

Obviously a small baby has no immediate cover, but as long as the baby is registered on the Woolworths Memorial Education Fund the benefits will start when the child reaches Grade R.

PLEASE NOTE: It is important that your children, even if they are toddlers, are registered within 6 months of your death. If this does not happen, the benefit will not be activated and your children will not be covered.