How To Claim UIF When Resigned, Dismissed or Retrenched

With the aim of giving workers something to fall back on when they suddenly become unemployed or unable to work due to certain circumstances, the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) was established close to twenty years ago. As a public entity of the Department of Labour, the UIF has been providing short-term monetary assistance to workers, not only when they lose their jobs, but when they go on maternity, adoption, illness, and paternity leave. They also provide short-term relief to the dependents of deceased workers who were contributing to the fund before their demise.

Though every worker is expected to make UIF contributions, some are expressly excluded by relevant legislation. They include independent contractors who are deemed to be employers and those working less than 24 hours a month for an employer. The UIF benefits, however, can only be claimed by workers who are registered with the Unemployment Insurance Fund and have been contributing to the Fund while working. It is noteworthy that the amount to be claimed is dependent on how long the worker has been contributing to the Fund, as well as how much the worker earns as a monthly salary.

Who is Qualified To Claim UIF Benefits?

Workers who are eligible to claim the UIF benefits are those who work 24 hours or more in a month and have been registered with the Unemployment Insurance Fund by their employer. As such, the employees have to be making contributions to the Fund. Employers are expected to pay a UIF contribution of 2% for each of their workers. 1% of the employee’s monthly earnings, excluding commission, is being deducted for the contribution while the employer contributes the other 1%. The payment is made to the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) or the South African Revenue Services (SARS).

Note: The Unemployment Insurance Contributions Act and Unemployment Insurance Act applies to all workers except:

  • Foreigners working on contract
  • Learners
  • Workers who only earn commission
  • Workers working less than 24 hours a month
  • President, Ministers, MECs, MPs, and Mayors
  • Workers who are being paid monthly State (old age) pension

Domestic workers and employers were included under the Act on April 1st, 2003.

Can I Claim UIF Benefits When Resigned or Retired?

The UIF unemployment benefits are only available to workers whose services were terminated by their employers and who have been contributing to the Fund. Hence, those that resigned or retired cannot claim the benefits as the worker is seen to have voluntarily terminated his or her services, even if the employee has been making contributions to the Unemployment Insurance Fund while working and was forced to resign due to personal circumstances. One can however claim the benefits if his or her resignation is considered as a constructive dismissal by the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation, and Arbitration (CCMA).

Furthermore, those who retired from work are presumed to start receiving retirement benefits after voluntarily leaving their job and the benefits can be a guaranteed or living annuity. Nonetheless, some retirees may be able to claim the UIF benefits if they were required to leave their work on reaching a certain age despite them preferring to keep working. Their chances of receiving the benefits depend on the code reported by their employers on the UI-19 form submitted to the Department of Labour at the end of each month. Additionally, workers, who have been suspended or absconded from work, are not eligible to claim the unemployment benefits.

Here’s a list of circumstances under which you cannot claim the UIF unemployment benefits

  • If you quit your job or absconded from work
  • If you have already qualified for a benefit from an unemployment fund under the Labour Relations Act
  • Refusal to train or heed counseling advice
  • If you are receiving benefits from any other scheme established by the Labour Relations Act
  • If you were suspended from work for being involved in fraudulent activities

Categories of The UIF Benefits

Previously, the Unemployment Insurance Fund benefits were classified into five namely; unemployment, maternity, illness, adoption, and death (dependants) benefits. Then in April 2020, the provision for paternity benefits became effective. Thus, the categories of the UIF benefits now include:

  • Unemployment Benefits
  • Maternity Benefits
  • Adoption Benefits
  • Paternity Benefits
  • Illness Benefits
  • Death (Dependants) Benefits

What’s Involved in The Benefits and How Do You Claim Them?

For one to claim the UIF benefits, he or she has to make an application at the closest labor center. The procedures involved in the claiming process of the UIF benefits are quite different. As such, here are details on how to claim each of the benefits, as well as the documents needed for the claiming process.

Unemployment Benefits

The UIF unemployment benefits are offered to workers who involuntarily lost their jobs as a result of them being retrenched or dismissed. Hence, workers can claim the benefits under the following conditions:

  • If your fixed contract has ended and has not been renewed
  • If you and your employer has been declared insolvent, in terms of the insolvency Act, 1936
  • If your contract of employment has been terminated
  • If your contract of employment has been terminated due to the demise of your employer
  • If you have been dismissed from your work as defined by section 186 of the Labour Relations Act 1995
UIF benefits
(Image Source)

Steps To Claiming The Unemployment Benefits

STEP 1: Visit the nearest labor center.

STEP 2: Sign the unemployment register. Afterwards, you will be told when to come back and sign the register again.

STEP 3: You will be signing the register every four weeks to show that you are still interested in claiming the UIF benefits.

STEP 4: Make sure you collect a white card from the UIF claims officer every time you sign the register.

Note: Ensure that you will always go to the labor office to sign the register on the correct date given to you by the UIF claims officer.

The unemployment benefits are being paid at the Labour Centre and you need to collect them in person on the day you will be asked to come for the collection of benefits. Make sure you go with your ID book and white card.

Documents Required For Unemployment Benefits Claim

  • A copy of 13 digits bar-coded identity document
  • Information provided by your employer in the UI-19 Form
  • A service certificate from the employer
  • A well-completed registration form
  • Copies of your last six payslips

To receive unemployment benefits, you must be prepared to do the following:

  • Attend training or career counseling if you are asked by the UIF officer to do so.
  • Make yourself available for work; you will need to be ready to work in case you are offered a job.
  • Go for a job hunt in several companies as you will be given a form to sign which will show that you have searched for a job and there are no jobs available.

Note: If you refuse to accept the employment offer or go to training and your refusal is considered unreasonable, you may lose your benefits or they may be suspended.

Maternity Benefits

The UIF maternity benefits are provided to female workers who are pregnant and have taken maternity leave. The leave, which is for four consecutive months, can be taken any time from four weeks before the expected date of birth. The leave also includes a period of six weeks after giving birth. A female worker, who has a miscarriage during the third trimester of pregnancy or gives birth to a stillborn child, is also entitled to the benefits. The worker must be receiving lesser wages than his or her normal salary while on maternity leave in order to qualify to claim the benefits.

Steps To Claiming UIF Maternity Benefits

STEP 1: Register at the nearest labor office and collect Form UF92.

STEP 2: Your doctor has to fill the form and afterward, submit it to the UIF claims officer at the labor office.

STEP 3: If you are applying for the benefits after giving birth, then you need to collect Form UF95, which must be completed by the doctor who delivered the baby.

If the application is considered by the Department of Labour, the claim will be paid by cheque and be posted to you. Additionally, if you are unemployed while on maternity leave, you will need to notify the claims officer about it as you may be able to claim both UIF benefits.

Documents Required For Maternity Benefits Claim

  • A copy of your 13 digits bar-coded identity document
  • Information provided by your employer in form UI-19
  • Copies of your last six payslips
  • A well-completed registration form
  • Proof of banking details
  • A statement of the remuneration received from your employer during the period of maternity leave
  • A service certificate from your employer

Adoption Benefits

The UIF adoption benefits can be claimed by a worker who legally adopt a child younger than two years and has taken a leave from work to care for the child. While on adoption leave, the adoptive parent receives less than normal wages. It is worth noting that only one of the parents can apply for the adoption benefits.

Steps To Claiming Adoption Benefits

STEP 1: Register with a claims officer at the nearest labor center.

STEP 2: Make an application for the benefits within six months of the adoption order being issued.

STEP 3: The payment will be made by cheque and posted to you. Try to fill the form which will come with the payment and then submit it to the claims officer at the labor office.

Documents Required For UIF Adoption Benefits Claim

  • A fully completed registration form
  • An interim court order that placed the child in the care of the prospective adoptive parents pending the finalization of the child’s adoption order
  • A copy of your 13 digits bar-coded identity document
  • Proof of banking details
  • Copies of your last six payslips
  • A service certificate from your employer (if your services have been terminated)
  • Information provided by your employer in form UI-19
  • A statement of the remuneration received from your employer during the period of adoption leave
  • A certified copy of the child’s birth certificate
  • A certified copy of the order of adoption

Paternity Benefits

Paternity benefits can be claimed by male UIF contributors who have taken parental leave in respect of childbirth or adoption. Workers who become parents through surrogacy agreements are also entitled to parental leave and equally qualify to claim UIF paternity benefits. However, they must have been employed for at least 13 weeks before applying for the benefits. The parental leave lasts for 10 days.

Steps To Claiming UIF Paternity Benefits

STEP 1: Application for benefits claim must be made at the nearest labour centre

STEP 2: Complete Form UI-2.9

Documents Required For Paternity Benefits Claim

  • Applicant’s identity documents
  • Details of a valid bank account. It should be stated in Form UI-2.8.
  • Birth certificate of the child with full details of parents
  • Information provided by your employer in form UI-19
  • Details of remuneration received while working. It should be stated in Form UI-2.7.
  • A surrogate motherhood agreement, in terms of the Children’s Act 38 of 2005

Illness Benefits

The UIF illness benefits are offered to employees who are unable to work because of illness. For them to be eligible to claim the benefits, they must have been sick for a period longer than two weeks and must be receiving lesser wages than their normal salaries while on sick leave.

What’s Involved in The Illness Benefit?

  • Benefits are only paid when the period of illness has lasted longer than 14 days.
  • Benefits are paid from the date the worker ceases to work as a result of illness.
  • Subject to credit days, in any period of four years, benefits payment can be made for a maximum of 238 days.
  • The total amount paid does not exceed 100% of the normal remuneration the worker would have been paid if he or she remained in employment.
  • The benefits will be paid by cheque and posted to the worker.

Steps To Claiming Illness Benefits

STEP 1: Go to the closest labor center and register within six months that you stopped working due to illness. You will be issued a Follow-up form UI-3.

STEP 2: If you are too ill to visit the office, a family member or friend can get the form from the office for you to sign and it must be returned to the labor office.

STEP 3: Submit an application for benefits at the labor center.

STEP 4: A medical certificate (Form UF86) should be submitted to the UIF claims officer to prove that the worker was unable to work due to illness.

STEP 5: Form UF87 will be posted to you after your application is considered by the Department of Labour. You will need to complete the form and get your doctor to sign it.

STEP 6: Submit form UF87 to the claims officer at the labor center.

Documents Required For UIF Illness Benefits Claim

  • Information provided by your employer in form UI-19
  • Copies of your last six payslips
  • Proof of banking details
  • A copy of your 13 digits bar-coded identity document
  • A service certificate from your employer
  • A well-completed registration form
  • A statement of the remuneration received from your employer during the period of the illness

Note: You may be able to claim illness benefits, as well unemployment benefits if you lost your job as a result of being too ill to work. You will need to inform the UIF claims officer of the situation so that you might be able to claim unemployment benefits for the period not covered by the illness benefits.

Nonetheless, you have to bear in mind that you will be disqualified to claim the illness benefits if the illness was caused by your own misconduct or failure to follow the doctor’s instructions or failure to receive treatment as well.

Death (Dependants) Benefits

Death or dependants benefits are offered to the husband/wife or minor child of a deceased worker who made contributions to the Unemployment Insurance Fund. Children of the deceased, who are younger than 21 years, are entitled to claim the benefits when there is no surviving spouse or a life partner. The benefits that will be paid is the amount the deceased worker could have claimed if he or she was unemployed. It is paid out in one payment.

Steps To Claiming UIF Death (Dependants) Benefits

STEP 1: Submit an application for the death benefits at the closest labor center within eighteen months of the worker’s demise.

STEP 2: Complete Form UF126 (if you are the spouse of the deceased) and the child of the deceased worker will complete Form UF127.

STEP 3: Form UF128 will be given to you at the labor office and should be completed by the deceased’s last employer.

STEP 4: Submit the fully completed Form UF128 at the labor center.

Documents Required For Death (Dependants) Benefits Claim

If you are the spouse of the deceased worker, the following will be needed;

  • Information given by the deceased’s employer in form UI-19
  • Copies of the deceased’s last six payslips
  • A certified copy of the death certificate
  • A copy of the applicant’s 13 digits bar-coded identity document
  • A service certificate from the employer
  • Proof of the applicant’s banking details
  • A certified copy of the marriage certificate

The following documents are required If you are the child of the deceased worker;

  • A copy of the applicant’s 13 digits bar-coded identity document
  • A certified copy of the child’s birth certificate
  • Proof that the applicant is a learner who was dependent on the deceased
  • Copies of the deceased’s last six payslips
  • A certified copy of the death certificate
  • A service certificate from the employer
  • Proof of the applicant’s banking details
  • Information given by the deceased’s employer in form UI-19
  • Proof of guardianship

How Much Can I Claim From The Fund?

There is no fixed payment for the different benefits offered by the UIF. Each of the categories has a different maximum number of credt days one can claim. For instance, workers, who have been contributing to the Fund for four years or more before getting unemployed, can make claims for up to 238 days which is the maximum credit days. Then those who have been contributing for less than four years are eligible to claim one day out of every six days they worked while making contributions to the Fund.

Maternity benefits, on the other hand, has a maximum of 121 credit days. The Department of Labour calculates the daily rate based on the salary of the employee. The highest payment a worker can get is 58% of their daily remuneration.

Using the UIF calculator, you can know how much to claim as benefits by following these simple steps listed as follows:

STEP 1: Calculate your daily remuneration. This can be achieved by multiplying your monthly salary by 12 (months per year) and then dividing it by 365 (days in a year).

For instance, If you earned a monthly salary of R9,000, then your daily remuneration should be 9000 × 12 / 365 = R295.89 per day.

STEP 2: Work out your claim. If you are worker who has made contributions for less than four years, you are entitled to one day’s benefit out of every six days of employment.

For example, if you worked for 198 days before losing your job, divide it by 6 and then multiply the result with your daily remuneration of R295.89 (assuming you earned R9,000 monthly) to get your claim. It should be worked out as follows:

198 / 6 = 33, then 33 × 295.89 = 9764.37

Thus, you will be getting R9,764.37 as your claim.

How Long Does The Claiming Process Take?

If the UIF benefits claiming process is successful, you will be getting paid from the Fund within eight weeks of registration. Then after signing the continuation of payment, the second or third payment will not take more than 10 working days to be processed. The payment will be done monthly until you have fully received your benefits. Whenever the money is being paid every four weeks, you will be receiving a slip that will show how much you have received and the amount you can still get.

If you don’t get paid after eights week of registering, then you will have to call the UIF call center on 0800 843 843 or the labor center where the claim was submitted to know why the payment is being delayed. Remember to have your ID number ready before calling the labor office.

NOTE: How long the claiming process takes depends mostly on the completeness of the application and equally on the employment history of the worker, whether it is up to date. The claim takes a long time to finalize when the worker’s employment record is not up to date.

What Can I Do If My Claim Application Has Been Unfairly Rejected?

You can make an appeal against the decision of a claims officer or the commissioner by submitting Form UI-12 to the closest labor office. The form must be submitted with documents or proof that back up your decision to appeal.

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