The Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) says it will continue to process new claims for the COVID-19 temporary employee/employer relief scheme (TERS) for April and May until the official cut-off date is announced.
UIF Commissioner Teboho Maruping said that this is in line with the agreement reached by the Department of Employment and Labour, and the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) social partners to extend the current 14-day window period for new COVID-19 TERS applications.
The 14-day notice window period is yet to be announced, and employers and employees will have an opportunity to submit applications before the cut-off date.
Maruping added that the fund is working tirelessly to ensure that all valid COVID-19 TERS benefits claims for April, May and June are settled as it prepares to open the system for this new extended period of six weeks, ending on 15 August 2020.
“There are numerous challenges to handling applications. However, detailed FAQ [frequently asked questions] guiding employers to handle any error codes will be issued to enable processing for payment. To reduce the number of outstanding claims, the UIF is re-running updates on declarations on the system twice a week.
“Added to that, the UIF makes payments every day, except on Sundays, in order to fast-track outstanding claims. The Fund is also working on a number of front-end adjustments to the system to enable applicants to fix some of the errors on their own, which will greatly ease the load on our side and improve the flow,” Maruping said.
The UIF went on to express its appreciation for the support received from employers, bargaining councils and other organisations across the board to resolve outstanding claims.
He said incidents of fraud have prompted the Fund to introduce the verification of banking details before payment is released into the applicant’s bank account.
“The UIF is reliant on banks to ensure bank details verification. In instances where claims have failed bank verification, we appeal to employers to update the banking details on the system. The process to be followed will be outlined in the FAQs that will soon be made available on the department’s website and the TERS online system,” Maruping said.
Maruping said the Fund has made this activity the responsibility of the client because of its sensitive nature, but most importantly, it removes the potential of officials meddling with the client’s private information.
R37 billion benefit claims paid
As the Fund prepares to open the system for COVID-19 TERS benefit claims for July and August, Maruping said that R37 billion (R37 133 662 558) has so far been paid for 693 561 applications, benefitting 8 298 307 workers.
“With the testimonies that we are receiving, it is quite clear to us that these disbursements have made a real difference to millions of people dependent on the workers who received these cash injections. Like the Fund, it is an honour for us to have played this part and will do so until 15 August, armed with learnings from the past three months," Maruping said and ended by saying "the Fund will leverage its resources to ensure that it continues to process those claims that are in the system and honour those that are valid, in line with the commitment it has made to various parliamentary committees and the workers in this country,”