UIF in a race to clear up Covid-19 relief backlog

UIF staff will be postponing festive season leave to fast track the processing of claims.

  • The UIF plans to fast-track the processing of outstanding TERS benefits.
  • Its staff will also be delaying their leave over the festive period.
  • Applications for outstanding claims from September to 15 October will close on 31 December.

As SA braces for further infections over the festive season, the Unemployment Insurance Fund is working to ensure it clears up outstanding claims related to the Temporary Employer/Employee Relief Scheme as fast as possible.

The department of employment and labour on Tuesday afternoon issued a statement assuring those who had not received their TERS that it would be undertaking payment re-runs for outstanding claims applying to the period between April and 15 September 2020.

The fund will also process and pay claims to foreign nationals verified by the Department of Home Affairs and the South African Revenue Service, and other verification processes, the statement read.

The benefit, which was extended in March as lockdown was implemented, has been battling backlogs in claims. President has previously said that the benefit, along with other relief measures, will eventually have to come to an end as government has limited resources, Fin24 previously reported. The TERS benefit in particular was extended to 15 October.

“The Fund has been sporadically re-running claims for the previous months, but this time we have decided to recycle all claims to ensure that those that have updated declarations and discrepancies are paid when we re-run the payments.

“We have dedicated the entire week to re-run payments for a period between April to September 2020, and we shall repeat for all [the] lockdown period on Saturday, 19 December to try clear the backlog as far as we possibly can so that beneficiaries will not suffer during this festive season,” said the Acting Commissioner, Marsha Bronkhorst.

The UIF has paid out R55.6 billion to millions of workers through the scheme. Of this amount, over R2 billion was paid to under half a million foreign nationals.

Payments for the 16 September to 15 October period are being processed – so far R1 billion has been dispersed. Applications for this particular period close on 31 December, the statement indicated.

Some UIF staff – those in Operations, ICT and Finance – will be delaying their leave to fast track the processing of payments and claims as well as claims for normal UIF benefits.

“Officials at senior management and those processing and paying claims will not be going on leave except for the mandatory shutdown period from 24 December 2020 to 1 January 2021, which is used for systems maintenance. 

“The decision to postpone annual leave for some of our officials was not taken lightly, but is being implemented to ensure that we continue to process and pay claims to our beneficiaries to enable them to meet their financial obligations and support their families during the festive season,” said Bronkhorst.

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