As of the first quarter of 2021, South Africa has an employment rate of 32.6% and about 46.3% of unemployed people are within the age of 15-34. It is a known index that the unemployment rate is equal to the high crime rate in any society, especially for those within the age bracket aforementioned. However, the South African government is doing all it can to see to it that while people are unemployed, something is done to help them take care of their basic needs like feeding and shelter. They have put up schemes like SASSA Special Relief Fund and the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF).
With the Unemployment Insurance Fund, employees can save up a percentage of their monthly income by contributing it to the fund, and any time they lose their jobs or may not be paid by their employer, they can apply to start getting the benefits from the money that have been contributed up to that point. With this, the unemployed can cater to basic needs for the period of time they are still searching for new jobs.
Both Employees And Employers Contribute To UIF
Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) is a short-term relief fund that is given to those who are unemployed or incapable of working as a result of maternity, illness, or adoption leave. To be eligible for this fund, you will have to be an employee who works for an employer for 24 hours or more in a month, and your employer has to register with SRS for Employees’ Tax, and also register for a pay register to pay UIF contributions.
Although the benefits of the UIF contributions go to the employees if they lose their jobs or are not paid their supposed wage or remuneration, both employees and employers make the contribution. The employee is expected to contribute 1% of their monthly remuneration and the employer is expected to contribute 1% of the amount of money he or she pays the employee, making it the total contribution percentage 2% monthly.
How To Check UIF Status
If you have been registered as an employee under UIF and have been contributing a percentage of your payment, at any time you get into a situation where you are sacked or unable to work for obvious reasons, you can apply to claim your payment. It is important for you to note that UIF will not pay you unemployment benefits if you willingly resign from your job. You will only be paid on the condition that you are sacked or forced to resign for very obvious reasons.
After registering to claim your payments, you should expect to get approval if your registration is successful within the space of 10 working days. During this period, you can keep track of your application status using either online or offline methods.
How Do I Check My UIF Claim Status Online?
Checking your UIF status online is one of the easiest and most convenient methods, seeing that it can be done from the comfort of your home and saves you the stress and transportation fare involved in visiting the Labor office. But then, it requires that you have an available data bundle and a smart gadget with which you can access the internet.
You Can Check Your Status On UIF Website
To check your status on the UIF website, follow the procedure below:
- Visit the official UIF Online Application site.
- Click on Login.
- Enter your username and password in the space provided.
- Follow the prompts that appear on your screen to check your status.
Check Your Status Via Email
Send an email containing your name, ID number, and UIF Reference number to [email protected].
Can I Check My Status Via USSD Code?
On the 23rd of August 2019, the South African Department of Employment and Labor released a memo stating that employees will soon be able to check their UIF status via USSD codes. The reason being that it would save employees the stress of coming to the Labor office and also reduce the number of people queuing up at the office and waiting to be attended to.
For all the reasons stated the implementation of the use of USSD was obviously for a good course. However, it did not materialize until the 17th of April 2021. All UIF applicants can now check their status and make general inquiries via a USSD code.
So, by dialing *134*843#, you can now check your application, as well as payment status, from the comfort of your home. You can also download the UIF app to perform these self-services. What is more interesting about this is that using the USSD code is zero-rated.
How To Check UIF Status Offline
If your preferred method of checking your UIF status is offline, then what you need to do is visit the Labor office with your ID number and UIF reference number at hand because the clerk at the Labor office will request it from you.
Once you provide the information they seek, they will be able to run through their database to tell you if your request has been approved and the date you should receive your first payment.
If for any reason, you do not receive payment for eight weeks within the period of registration, you should visit the Labor office or contact them on 012 337 1997 to lay complaints. Always remember to keep your ID number and UIF reference number handy when visiting or making calls.
How Do I Claim My UIF?
Before you can check your application status or claim your UIF benefits, you should have already applied. And the process of application can also be done online or offline.
How To Claim Your UIF Benefits Online
To claim your UIF benefits online, you will have to fill out and submit the forms online, this saves you all the stress of visiting the labor center. To be able to apply online, you have to be sure that you have registered UIF online as an employee, you can simply check your registration status by calling 012 337 1680 or 012 337 1997 or you can simply try logging into your portal on the UIF with your username and password.
If you have registered for UIF online, you can apply for your benefits by following the procedures below:
- Visit https://www.ufiling.co.za/uif/
- Tap on Login.
- Log in to your portal using your username and password.
- Follow the prompts until you are required to enter your UIF reference number.
- Once you have successfully logged in, navigate through the portal to find the option that reads ‘Benefit Application and Payments’.
- Click on ‘Apply for Benefits.’
- Select the type of benefit you want to apply for and click ‘Apply’.
- Accept the terms and conditions and click on ‘Next’.
- Verify your banking details and click ‘Next’ or click ‘Banking Details Incorrect?’ Then fill form UI12.8 and continue.
- Confirm and update your personal details the then click on ‘Next’.
- Fill the form that requires you to provide information about your occupation and qualification then click on ‘Next’.
- Update your work seeker information and click on ‘Submit’.
- After successfully submitting your application, you will receive a notification to show that it was received.
If you are yet to register online as an employee, you can do that by following the steps below:
- Visit the official UIF online application on-site.
- Click on Register.
- Accept the terms and conditions.
- Enter your preferred username.
- Input your name.
- Select the type of ID you have and provide the required information.
- Select a preferred means of contact (SMS, email).
- Tick the robot check.
- Click on Register.
- Once you have successfully registered you can now set up your portal and perform other self-services like claiming your benefits.
How To Claim Your UIF Benefits Offline
In simple terms, claiming your UIF benefits offline means visiting the Labor center with all required documents and handing them over to the clerk who will assist you in the application process. To apply offline, follow the steps below:
- Print out the forms you are required to submit.
- Fill the form completely with the appropriate information.
- Take all the forms and other required documents to the Labor Center.
- The clerk at the Labor Center will assist you to fill the form.
Irrespective of the method you decide to use to claim your funds, there are basic requirements for you to claim each of the different categories of funds, and different forms to fill.
Requirements For Claiming Unemployment Benefits
You can only claim your unemployment benefits if you were sacked from your job or if your contract has expired, but cannot claim it if you resigned willfully. You are expected to register for the UIF unemployment fund – if you lost your job – immediately or within six months. Here is a detailed list of all the documents you will need to provide to claim your unemployment fund:
- 13 digit bar-coded identity document.
- Copies of the last six payslips you received before losing your job.
- UI-19 (employers details).
- Service certificate issued by your employer.
- A proof that you have registered as a job seeker.
- Completed registration form.
The UIF may request that you attend training and career counseling. You should also be ready to work at any time you get a job. You may also have to fill a document that shows that you have been seeking a job but are unable to get one. This will require that you actually go to different establishments in search of a job.
Requirements For Claiming Your Illness Benefit
You can claim illness benefits if you will be absent from work for up to two weeks as a result of health-related issues. You should apply from the day you will stop going to work so that you can start receiving payments. The documents you will need for the registration purpose includes:
- Copy of your bar-coded identity document.
- UI-19 contains your employer’s details as supplied by him or her.
- Copies of your payslip for the past six months.
- Proof of banking details.
- Service certificate from your employer.
- Proof of income or benefits you still receive from your employer during your stay away from work.
- Completed registration form.
- Medical report showing your diagnosis.
You will be paid for the period of time you have stayed off work as prescribed by the doctor, but not for the first two weeks. Also, you will not be paid if your employer still pays you your normal wages.
Note that you cannot receive illness benefits if your illness is self-inflicted as a result of your own misconduct. Inform the UIF office if you lost your job as a result of an illness as well so that you can also be registered for unemployment benefits.
Requirements For Claiming Adoption Benefits
If you just adopted a child who is below two years of age and wish to stay back from work to spend time bonding and taking care of the child, then you qualify for claiming adoption benefits. Well, that’s only if you and your employer have contributed the required 2% monthly contribution to UIF. Note that if you adopted this child with your spouse, only one of you can apply for UIF adoption benefits. These are the documents you will need for the registration process:
- Adoption order.
- Copy of the child’s adoption certificate.
- Identity document.
- Details of your employer on UI-19.
- Financial statement of the amount your employer is willing to pay you for the period of time you may be away.
- Proof of banking details.
- Copied of your payslip for the last six months.
You can apply for adoption benefits within six months of adopting the child.
Requirements For Claiming Maternity Benefits
Pregnant women who are working and wish to take maternity leave within the time they are to give birth can apply for benefits of up to 17 weeks. But if you give birth to a child who is stillborn or miscarried during the pregnancy, then you can only apply for benefits for up to six weeks. To apply for maternity benefits, here are the documents you will need:
- Bar-coded identity document.
- Banking details (form UI-2.8).
- Copies of your last six payment slips.
- UI-19 (information to be supplied by your employer).
- Proof of banking details.
- Form UI-2.7.
- Certificate of service.
- Completely filled application form (form UI-2.3).
- Birth certificate of the baby or medical certificate issued by the doctor.
- Completely filled follow-up form (form UI-4).
- Registration form.
- After registration, you will be given form UF92. It should be filled by your doctor.
- If you apply for UIF maternity benefits after giving birth to your child, you will be given Form UF95 which should be filled by the doctor who assisted you with childbirth.
How Will I Be Notified If My Claim Application Was Approved?
Although it is possible for you to keep track of application status online or offline using any of the methods above, UIF still requests that you provide a preferred means of contact and you can either choose SMS or email. Through the cellphone number or email address you provide, they can notify you for any reason regarding UIF contributions and payment.
Can I Apply For Unemployment Benefits After Resigning From My Job?
No. As we have clearly stated earlier, if you decide to resign from your job, you will not be eligible for the unemployment benefits, because the scheme only accommodates those who were dismissed from their job. So, if you do not have plans of how to fend for yourself financially, then you should probably reconsider resigning.
What Is The Highest Amount UIF Can Pay?
The amount you earn from UIF will depend on your salary while you were a contributor. Beneficiaries can only earn between 38% to 60% of what they previously earned. UIF has a policy that those who earned more as contributors will have a lower percentage. This is probably because their contribution was higher than those whose remuneration was lower and so a lower percentage will still amount to something tangible, probably more tangible than someone who receives up to 50% of his previous salary but earned really small.