It is all systems go for the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) to resume its eagerly awaited Covid-19 TERS Benefits payments – a campaign that has put hard cash in the hands of workers to shield them from the worst effects of lockdown as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic.
The resumption is slated for Monday, September 21, 2020.
“We plan a payment run for all outstanding payments for April, May and June 2020 on Monday and Tuesday. After that, we will plan to run payments for 1 July to 15 August 2020 period from Wednesday 23 to Saturday 26 September 2020,” said Marsha Bronkhorst, Acting UIF Commissioner.
“We are aware that many workers around the country have been placed on a back foot as a result of the need to ensure that our systems stand up to scrutiny and we close the gaps identified by the Auditor General. While the inconvenience was greatly regretted, we are pleased that we have turned things around in what we believe in quick time and our systems are ready to make a difference in the lives of the workers again,” she added.
This two-week halt of payments came as the Fund was responding to observations from the Auditor General which highlighted lax controls. The report also guided the UIF on the steps to take to ensure that those who are deserving are recipients of the cash disbursements.
As things stand, the Fund has scheduled multiple payment runs for the rest of next week to fast track the payments to beneficiaries.
In the quest to further stress-test and mitigate the risks to its systems and process, the Fund immediately initiated discussions with government departments such as the Department of Home Affairs, South African Social Security Agency, and the Department of Correctional Services amongst others. This was done to assist the Fund to synchronise its data to ensure that Covid-19 TERS Benefits payments are made to the right and authentic beneficiaries.
While the Fund will start processing payments, unfortunately, this applies to competent claims only. Incomplete claims or claims where there is information that is still outstanding from employers will not be automatically processed.
“We still have claims that are yet to be processed in the system because of outstanding information. We urge employers to submit this information and we have made it easier for them to know what is still outstanding by developing the Discrepancy Tab in the system and they can also use FAQs on the DEL website,” said Bronkhorst.
Ensuring that competent claims are settled expeditiously was also highlighted in the AG’s report and has been part of tough discussions between the Department of Employment and Labour as well as the NEDLAC social partners.
In announcing the new developments, the UIF would also like to take the opportunity to urge employers and employees who have not applied for the Covid-19 TERS Benefits to be mindful of the application closing dates for a period between April to September.
The dates are set out as follows:
- COVID-19 TERS benefit applications for March 2020 to end May 2020 shall close on 25 September 2020, and no further applications for that period shall be accepted beyond that date.
- COVID-19 TERS benefit applications for June 2020 shall close on 15 October 2020, and no further applications for that period shall be accepted beyond that date.
- COVID-19 TERS benefit applications for July to 15 September 2020 shall close 30 October 2020, and no further applications for that period shall be accepted beyond that date.
The closing dates will not affect claims that have already been submitted, as they will be settled once all the outstanding information is finally submitted to the Fund.
The extraordinary payments which have seen R42-billion placed in the hands of workers are part of the Government’s response to the pandemic and are designed to ensure that workers were not irreparably negatively affected by the lockdown and its resultant lack of economic activity.