Slow pace of veterans’ pension pay-outs worrying

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The snail’s pace of military veteran pension pay-outs is “a concern” to the Parliamentary oversight committee – the Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans (PCDMV) – tasked with veterans’ affairs.

The committee meeting this week – the first of the year – was updated on pension benefits roll-out by the Government Pensions Administration Agency (GPAA), appointed by the Department of Military Veterans (DMV) to implement pension payments for old soldiers.

To date, a Parliamentary Communication Services statement has it, 268 veterans have received pension payments.

The GPAA informed the oversight committee more than 19 000 applications were received from old soldiers with “approval and payment of at least four thousand applicants” expected by the end of next month (March).

Another 229 veterans have been approved, with payment coming when banking details are confirmed, but there are still some 14 500 in various stages of approval.

“The PCDMV,” as per the statement, “welcomed the information that even though the number of veterans who have received payment is very low, some positive movement on payment of pension benefits has been achieved”.

An undertaking by GPAA officials to work overtime to ensure the agency reaches its target of 4 000 paid cases by the end of March 2024 was welcomed by PCDMV chair Cyril Xaba.

Also concerning to Xaba and his co-committee members is that time is running out with “in excess of R250 million, representing 75% of what was allocated for military veterans pension benefits in the current financial year, would be surrendered back to the National Treasury (NT) if the number of pension beneficiaries remains low”.

This, the statement points out, will be the second year the DMV “has failed to spend the budget” for military veterans pension benefits.