The Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) has defended itself against claims of slow payments of its temporary employer/employee relief scheme (TERS), saying some elements were trying to “take advantage of the payments through fraudulent means.”
In a statement on Monday, UIF Commissioner Teboho Maruping said the delays were caused by vetting, which uncovered fraudulent claims such as those lodged for dead people.
He said, “Through the vetting, we have been able to establish that there were at least over 4,000 claims – April (2,729) and May (1,944) – lodged on behalf of deceased persons.”
Some claims were also lodged using identity numbers that didn’t exist, Maruping added. There were more than 48,000 claims with invalid ID numbers in April and over 43,000 in May.
“We developed this system in such a way that it would be able to talk to other public service institutions like SARS and the Department of Home Affairs.
“Currently, the UIF’s use of reference and ID numbers to prevent duplicate payments serves as one of the major controls, as well as verification of banking details, password protection, and checking claims against UIF and SARS databases,” he added.
UIF also said there were ID numbers that “could not be found on any system.” These amounted to 106,488 in April and 84,278 in May, and were consequently not processed.
Another reason for delayed payments was that some employees were not registered with UIF. The Fund therefore had to verify with SARS the existence of 218,548 such employees in April and 102,397 in May.
“In these cases, and realising the noble cause for supporting workers, we gave employers the chance to declare these workers through ufiling after which we would be able to pay,” Maruping said.
Winding down TERS payments
The Fund has started winding down TERS payments because they were for a three-month period only. It has paid out R31 billion in 6.9 million payments so far, it said.
“The Fund will continue to process those claims that are in the system. The April and May applications are closed, but the June applications are still active. The extra vetting means that instead of paying in 24 hours, the minimum time now is 48 hours,” the Fund said.
Earlier this month, UIF said it had added new bank account verification measures to curb fraud in its TERS system. Applicants will now have to insert either the enterprise number (CK/CIPC) or the ID number of the bank account holder in the TERS online portal, it said.