Wednesday, 30 September 2020

Pretoria: The Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) will from Thursday begin processing COVID-19 TERS applications for the period covering 16 August to 15 September 2020.

The payments are part of government’s basket of services aimed at acting as a safety net for workers detrimentally affected by the pandemic’s halting of the economy during the lockdown.

In a statement, the Department of Employment and Labour said the disbursements have shielded many families from falling into the poverty trap.

“To apply for the September period, employers are required to upload similar documentation which includes signed approval or acceptance letter, bank confirmation letter, proof of payment to employees, and refund to the UIF – if applicable,” said the Acting UIF Commissioner, Marsha Bronkhorst.

The department said applications will be subjected to a stringent vetting process with external partners to ascertain the validity of claims before the funds are paid and to ensure that the new controls weed out fraudulent claims.

“Early signs of the new vetting process with external partners show that we are on the right track, as we have been able to pick up potentially fraudulent claims,” she said.

Payments of claims was last month stopped and referred to the UIF’s Risk Management Unit for further investigation.

“We are also subjecting claims applications by foreign nationals to the Department of Home Affairs to ensure that we pay to authentic and deserving beneficiaries, and we shall immediately start paying these claims upon the completion of the vetting process by Home Affairs,” Bronkhorst said.

COVID-19 TERS claim applications from April to May closed on 25 September 2020.

Claims for the June period will close on 15 October 2020, while claims for July and August will close on 30 October 2020.

The extension of the payments widened the net of the scheme until the end of the National State of Disaster.

The Direction allows employers or employees to claim the COVID-19 TERS benefits for the extension period starting from 16 August until 15 September 2020. The new directives cover the following categories of employees whose employers are:

(a) not permitted to commence operations under the Disaster Management Regulations;

(b) unable to make alternative arrangements for vulnerable workers, such as working from home or taking special measures under the OHS Direction to protect them;

(c) unable to make use of their services because of operational requirements caused by compliance with the Regulations and Directions such as rostering, staggering working hours, short time and the introduction of shift systems.

The application process remains the same for the extension period and all claims must be lodged via the online portal (https://uifecc.labour.gov.za/covid19/ OR www.labour.gov.za).