Relief for workers as govt extends UIF TERS benefit until 15 August

Image credit: Twitter/Dept of Labour

The government has decided to extend the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) temporary employer/employee relief scheme (TERS) by six weeks until 15 August.

This was revealed by Employment and Labour Deputy Minister Boitumelo Moloi as she presented her Department’s Budget Vote to Parliament on Tuesday.

She said, “It gives me great pleasure to announce that, following due diligence and consultation with the UIF actuaries, and in line with the President’s decision to extend the life of the Disaster Management Act until 15th August, we have taken the decision to similarly extend the COVID-19 TERS benefit until the 15th of August 2020.

“The benefit structure and existing criteria remain the same. Applications for April and May will be closed by the end of July 2020, although applications already received for these two months will be processed.”

Over R34b paid so far

UIF TERS was initially planned for three months and was due to lapse at the end of July. It provides income support to workers who are temporarily laid off as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Moloi said to date, UIF has paid more than R34 billion in benefits to affected workers. It paid a further R4 billion in normal UIF benefits during the same period.

The Deputy Minister acknowledged delays in UIF TERS payments, referring to this challenge as “a learning curve.” She also commended the UIF and law enforcement agencies for acting quickly to curb cases of fraud.

“I am reassured that it was the UIF itself which detected recent attempted fraudulent activity, and I am encouraged by the speedy response of law enforcement agencies in bringing the culprits to book. This is serious colleagues. Amongst the incomplete claims are thousands of claims on behalf of deceased persons,” she said.

4,000 claims for deceased persons

In a statement on Monday, UIF Commissioner Teboho Maruping said more than 4,000 TERS claims were lodged for dead people. Others had invalid ID numbers.

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.

“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.”

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