NATIONAL SOCIAL SECURITY FUND

NATIONAL SOCIAL SECURITY FUND

ESTABLISHMENT OF THE FUND

The fund was established in 1965 by an Act of Parliament under Cap 258 of the laws of Kenya .The fund is operated and managed by a Board of Trustees.

NSSF BOARD OF TRUSTEES

The Board of trustees is a body corporate having a common seal. it may in its corporate name sue or be sued ,purchase, hold, manage and dispose of movable and immovable property and enter into contracts as it may deem necessary or desirable.

Composition of the Board

The Board of Trustees shall comprise of:

  1. A Chairman to be appointed by the Minister from amongst the trustees
  2. The Permanent Secretary to the Treasury;
  3. The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of labour
  4. Seven (7) other trustees appointed by the Minister of whom one shall be the Managing Trustee.

No person shall be appointed as a trustee if he:

  1. Has been convicted of an offence by a court and sentenced to imprisonment for a term of six months or more;
  2. Is adjudged bankrupt [or enters into a composition scheme or arrangement with his creditors;] or
  3. Is disqualified under the provisions of any other written law from appointment as such.

Term of office for trustees

The chairman and other trustees shall hold office for a period of three (3) years, but shall be eligible for re-appointment.

All questions proposed at a meeting of the Board of Trustees shall be decided by a majority of the votes of the trustees present.

COMPULSORY REGISTRATION OF MEMBERS

The Act provides for compulsory registration of employees and employers as contributors to the fund. The contributing employers are required to take appropriate steps to ensure their employees are registered.

The term “employer” means any public or private body or any person or individual employing one (1) or more employees.

The regulation order does not apply to employees whose terms of engagement are casual in nature.

The registration order provides for registration as members of the Fund of all “employees” of the age of sixteen (16) years and above and all “employers”.

REGISTRATION PROCESS- IMPORTANT

  1. Every contributing employer shall register with the Fund bycompleting and forwarding the appropriate form to the Fundwithin twenty-one (21) days of first becoming liable to register. (Regulation 3)
  2. The Managing Trustee shall allot a registration number to every contributing employer who is registered with the fund.
  3. Every contributing registered employer will complete and forward to the Fund the appropriate forms in respect of each of his employees who is registrable as a member of the Fund and who has not previously been registered.
  4. The Managing Trustee shall allot a membership number to each employeeregistered (Regulation 5.)
  5. The Managing Trustee shall also forward to a contributing employer membership cards for all members of the Fund who is registered whilst in his employment.
  6. All membership cards shall remain the property of the Fund.
  7. Every contributing employer shall keep a written record of the Fund membership number of each of his employees who is a contributing member.
  8. If the membership card of a member of the Fund is lost or destroyed, a member may apply to the Managing Trustee for the issue of a duplicate membership card. A charge of 2.50 shillings is levied for the issue
  9. Each contributing employer shall notify the Fund of any change of his address.
  10. Every contributing employer shall notify the Fund when any contributing member first enters, or ceases to be in his employment.
  11. Each member of the Fund shall immediately on commencing work for a new contributing employer produce his membership card to such employer for inspection.

CANCELLATION OF MEMBERSHIP

The registration of a contributing employer [under regulation 3] may be cancelled upon his making application on the appropriate form if he: –

(a) Ceases to have any contributing member in his employment; or

(b) Has throughout the two previous years employed fewer than the number of employees prescribed for compulsory regis­tration in his case i.e. one or more employees

CATEGORY OF EMPLOYEES WHO ARE NOT REGISTRABLE

The ACT provides that no person shall be registered as a member of the Fund if: –

(a) He is an exempt person; or

(b) He is a casual worker

EXEMPT PERSONS

  1. Persons eligible to receive any pension benefits under any scheme to which the Pensions Act applies.
  2. Persons entitled to receive pension benefits under any other approved scheme (statutory or non-statutory) providing comparable benefits
  3. Persons in the service of any University or College who are entitled to receive benefits under any superannuating scheme.
  4. Persons entitled to exemption from contribution to Social security schemes under any International Convention.
  5. Members (other than civilian employees) of— 

(a) the armed forces;

(b) the Kenya Police Force:

(c) the Prison Services;

(d) the National Youth Service.

  1. Persons not ordinarily resident in Kenya who are employed in Kenya for periods not exceeding three(3) years at any one time and are contributors to schemes in their countries
  2. Persons undergoing full time instruction in Schools, Colleges, Universities or similar educational institutions:

FORMER EXEMPT PERSONS

Under regulation 3(b) where any person who was exempt ceases to be employed before becoming entitled to any pension benefits in respect of that employment and therefore stops being an exempt person, the former employer of that person is expected to—

  • Secure the registration of that person as a member of the Fund by completing and forwarding the appropriate registration form to the Fund within twenty-one days from the day when his employee’s employment ceases.
  • Pay to the Fund a sum equal to the aggregate of all the sums that he would have paid to the Fund in respect of that employee for the period of that employee’s employment with him less the employee’s share of contribution.

This requirement will not apply where employment cessation is caused by death or permanent incapacity covered under the Workmen’s Compensation Act.

The amounts paid by the employer will be credited to the account of that person with the NSSF.

ACCOUNTS FOR MEMBERS OF THE FUND

 

The fund maintains an account for each of its contributing members and all contributions are paid into these accounts.

CIRCUMSTANCES UNDER WHICH THE ACCOUNT CAN BE CLOSED

This account once opened for a member will only be closed when:

  • All the monies credited to that account have been paid out of that account and a member has accordingly ceased to be a member of the Fund.
  • The member dies
  • The member has attained the age of sixty-five years
  • No contribution has been paid into the account of that member during the previous five (5) years
  • No claim by that member for benefit is pending determination

STANDARD CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE FUND

  1. Every contributing member will contribute an amount equivalent to 10% of his monthly income (half to be paid by the employer) up to a maximum of 400.
  2. Every standard contribution shall be paid in the prescribed manner to the Fund within fifteen daysafter the end of the month in which the contributionrelates.
  3. Contributions are recovered by check off from the payroll of employers and remitted to the fund accompanied by a by-product (schedule) of contributors.
  4. A contributing employer may deduct the employee’s share of the standard contribution from the salary payable by him to the employee.

OMISSIONS

Where, through inadvertence and without negligence, an employer pays any wages to an employee without making any deduction, that employer may make that deduction, within a period of the six months immediately following that pay.

Where an employer deducts the employee’s share of a standard contribution from the wages of that employee in advance of the payment of such contribution to the Fund, the employer shall hold such share in trust for the Fund.

EMPLOYERS SHARE OF CONTRIBUTION

An employer shall not deduct from the salary of his employee any contribution payable by him to the fund.

PENALTY FOR DELAYED PAYMENTS

If any contribution is not paid within one month after the end of the month in which the contribution is due, then a sum equal to five per cent of the amount of that contribution is charged as penalty.

The unpaid deductions will continue to attract a 5% penalty for each month it remains unpaid.

RETURN OF CONTRIBUTIONS

Any amounts paid to the fund Trustees in error shall be refunded to the contributor (employer or employee) and the account adjusted accordingly. The limit period for making the claim for refund of the erroneous deduction is 1 year.

 

BENEFITS CANNOT BE ATTACHED

The account of a member of the Fund and any benefit payable out of his account shall not be assignable or transferable and will not be liable to be attached in respect of any debt or claim whatsoever.

DESCRIPTION OF BENEFITS

Benefits shall be of the following descriptions—

(a) Age benefit a member of the Fund shall be entitled to age benefit if he has attained the age of fifty-five years and has retired from regular employment.

(b) Survivor’s benefit the dependent relatives of a member of the Fund will be entitled upon his death to survivor’s benefits. Survivor’s benefit shall be apportioned among the dependent relatives of a deceased member of the Fund.

(c) Invalidity benefit a member of the Fund shall be entitled to invalidity benefit if either— He is subject to a physical or mental disability causing or arising from permanent total incapacity; or, He is subject to a physical or mental disability as to be suffering from partial incapacity of a permanent nature and is unable by reason of such disability to earn a reasonable livelihood.

(d) Withdrawal benefit; A member of the Fund shall be entitled to withdrawal benefit if— He has attained the age of fifty years; and At the time of claiming the benefit, he is no longer employed by an employer who is liable to make a contribution in respect of him.

(e) Emigration granta member of the Fund shall be entitled to emigration grant if he emigrates from Kenya to another country without intention of returning to reside in Kenya.

CLAIM FOR THE PAYMENT OF BENEFITS

Any claim for the payment of any benefit shall be made in writing in the approved form to the Managing Trustee. A member will submit with the claim form his membership card.

(a)   Every person who makes a claim for the payment of a benefit  will furnish the managing trustee with  certificates, documents, information and evidence as may be required including where appropriate—

(i) a statutory declaration as to the truth of any statement of fact made by the claimant in his claim or in any evidence submitted by him;

(ii) an examination of the member or of his dependants by a qualified medical practitioner [if need be];

(iii) in claims for age benefit, production of evidence in support of the claimant’s statement that he has retired, or is about to retire, from regular employment;

(iv) in claims for survivor’s benefit, a certificate or other evidence of the death of the member concerned, evidence of the claimant’s own identity and relationship to the deceased member and information about other relatives of the deceased; and

(b)   If in the opinion of the managing trustee any claim is incomplete or defective at the date of its receipt, he may refer the claim to the claimant and if the form is returned duly completed or rectified within two weeks from the date on which it is so referred, the managing trustee may treat the claim as if it had been duly made in the first instance.

(c)    In the absence of evidence to the contrary the date of birth of a member of the Fund entered in the records of the Fund shall be conclusive and where no date of birth is recorded for a member or his dependants or is disputed, then the managing trustee may require further evidence of age (including medical evidence) as may be obtainable.

(d)   If a person fails to make a claim for any benefit within five years of the date when the benefit becomes due he will be disqualified from receiving any benefit.

(e)    If a person fails to make a claim for survivor’s benefit within four weeks from the date of receipt of the claim by the managing trustee, he will, unless the managing trustee otherwise directs, be disqualified from receiving that benefit or any part thereof i.e. survivors benefits should be claimed within 4 weeks of submitting the claim to NSSF

(f)     Any sum payable by way of benefit shall be paid in cash, by cheque or other suitable document of payment.

(g)   Where there is more than one person having an equal claim to the survivor’s benefit such benefit shall be apportioned equally among such persons. Letters of administration must be produced

(h)   The receipt of a member of the Fund or his legal representative or of a person authorizedto receive the benefit on his behalf shall be a full and sufficient discharge to the Fund for the sum specified therein.

(i)     Where the managing trustee is satisfied that a beneficiary is of unsound mind or for any reason is unfit to manage his own affairs he may pay the benefit, or any part thereof, to any other person who, in the opinion of the managing trustee, is a proper person to receive the sum on the beneficiary behalf. Any receipt given by such a person shall be a good and sufficient dis­charge to the Fund for the sum so paid.

(j)     Any person undergoing imprisonment or detention in legal custody shall be disqualified from receiving any benefit for so long as he is in prison or so detained.

 

MONIES OF FUND TO BE INVESTED

All moneys in the Fund which are not for the time being required to be applied for the purposes of the Fund shall be invested as approved by the Minister Of Finance

PENALTY FOR OBSTRUCTING FUND INSPECTORS

Any person who wilfully delays or obstructs an enforcement officer, refuses to answer any question or to furnish any information or to produce any document when required to do so shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine not exceeding five thousand shillingsand where the offence is a continuing one, such person shall be liable to a further fine of one thousand shillings for every day during which the offence continues. Provided that no one shall be required to answer any questions or to give any evidence tending to incriminate him

OFFENCES RELATING TO CONTRIBUTIONS

Any person who

  1. Fails without lawful excuse to pay to the Fund within the period prescribed by this Act any contribution which he is liable as a contributing employer to pay; or
  2. Knowingly makes any deduction from the wages of his employees in respect of any contribution which he is liable as a contributing employer to pay, other than a deduction which he is authorized to make; or
  3. For the purpose of obtaining any benefit for himself or for any other person; knowingly makes any false statement or representation, or produces or furnishes any document or information which he knows to be false or Fails to return to the Fund at the end of each calendar year contributions records or other documents, which are required for the proper maintenance of members’ accounts, shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine not exceeding fifteen thousand shillings.

DOCUMENTS NEEDED TO ACCESS BENEFITS

They will have to complete the relevant benefits form (form 9) as prescribed and submit it to the managing trustee together with the relevant support documents that include all or some of the following:

  1. Their original membership card
  2. Copy of identity card
  3. Address of payment and NSSF office of cheque collection
  4. Bank Account No. and name
  5. History of work- indicating different employers and dates when employed by them
  6. A clear impression of the left thumb print on application form (form 9)
  7. A full set of fingerprints
  8. A certified copy of the retirement letter /certificate of service
  9. A certified copy of the retirement letter (on medical grounds if invalidity benefit)
  10. Medical treatment records from the hosp attended.
  11. A current statement of account
  12. VISA document in support of the immigration claim
  13. Affidavit of permanent emigrationwithout intention of returning.
  14. Certified copy of the appointment letter
  15. Invalidity benefit applicants must have certain parts (-part 1) of the SF/BN/BF/01(1B) fully completed by a qualified doctor first
  16. Survivor benefit applicants must have certain parts of the SF/BN/BF/01(SB) fully completed by the district commissioner/DO unless the deceased died in a foreign country.

CHALLENGES THAT ARE LIKELY TO BE FACED BY THE NSSF IN ADMINISTERING THE SCHEME

  1. There is a limited number of contributors’ majority of who are contributing at a lower level of the contribution scale.
  2. The NSSF Act limits the scope of the fund to mainly administrative tasks.
  3. The amount of money contributed by each employee is quite small as compared to the current cost of social welfare. The current workers today are supporting the retirees. Massive retrenchments also contribute to loss of income for the fund and withdrawal claims.
  4. Some employers make deductions but do not remit these contributions to NSSF
  5. Inaccurate records and the lack of online computerization of data on the list of their members. High level of bureaucracy in accessing benefits leads to frustration of retired workers and to the overall image of the fund. In fact following this challenge the fund as pegged a 90 day period within which a member is expected to receive their dues; previously it took over 2 years.
  6. Corruption, fraud (lost cheques, outright embezzlement) and undue interference with the running of NSSF by politicians.
  7. Improper investment of members’ funds in dubious banks and real estate properties leading to loss of members’ funds.Or the funding of campaigns.
  8. Lack of professional management in this organization. The top management is often appointed by the politicians and is not competitively sourced.
  9. Competition is rife with other companies taking up the pensions business.

Few benefits from the fund make it unpopular.

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