UNJSPF Goes Live with the Digital Certificate of Entitlement App for its Retirees and Beneficiaries

1 February, 2021

Photo: Unsplash/Adam Nieścioruk

UNICC is proud to have partnered with the UN Joint Staff Pension Fund (UNJSPF) to deliver the Digital Certificate of Entitlement app, which allows the Fund’s retirees and beneficiaries the option to complete the annual Certificate of Entitlement exercise by providing their annual proof of life in a biometric format. The DCE is a technology solution provided in partnership with UNICC to automate and make immutable the CE process with blockchain, biometrics and a mobile app. This is a new option the Fund is offering in place of the paper-based Certificate of Entitlement (CE), with it being up to retirees and beneficiaries to decide how they wish to complete their annual CE.

Spearheaded by Dino Cataldo Dell’Accio, CIO, UNJSPF, this is one part of the Fund’s journey towards digital transformation, leveraging innovative technologies to update manual processes and streamline systems efficiencies. The Pension Fund’s Certificate of Entitlement (CE) certifies that retiree beneficiaries are who they say they are, are still living, and still reside at their registered locations. This has always been a cumbersome and manual processes that has been prone to error if not fraud.

After a Proof of Concept prototype, the World Food Programme piloted the solution with their pensioners as a first step to a full rollout, attesting to the incredible cost savings and streamlining of processes with these innovative technology solutions. With the assistance of UNICC, the UNJSPF has taken the solution live as an option for retirees and beneficiaries.

Blockchain, Biometrics and Mobile Apps for Pensioners

UNJSPF provides retirement, death, disability and related benefits for staff upon cessation of their services with the United Nations. Benefits and pensions are based on the cost of living in the local country of residence. On an annual basis, the Fund has to determine that every beneficiary everywhere is still alive (proof of liveness) and that the beneficiary is still living at the address she or he has established.

At the time that a participant initiates separation for the UN Agency, the person creates a digital identity by using a mobile app backed by blockchain technology. The person has to take a picture that is submitted to the Fund for validation and approval, setting the basis for an immutable biometric face recognition identity (see Digital CE FAQs for more details).

Once approved, the participant can request a digital Certificate of Entitlement to use for all UNJSPF business processes. Prior to usage, the participant beneficiary has to prove liveliness by taking a new photo. This entire process is recorded in an immutable blockchain distributed ledger so no changes can be made. If positive, the biometric footprint is updated, avoiding the issue of a beneficiary using a pre-existing static photograph. This ensures that the beneficiary is who he or she says and releases the pension for the beneficiary.

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