UIF sets deadline for Covid-19 TERS claims corrections

Fund looks to lessons learnt to prevent fraud in new Workers Affected by Unrest relief scheme applications

The Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) aims to close Covid-19 TERS claims by the end of December 2021, and has issued an appeal to employers to resolve errors on the Covid-19 TERS portal to enable it to finalise outstanding claims.

“The claims cannot be finalised until certain corrections are executed and that can only be done by the applicants as they appear as outstanding Covid-19 TERS payments. The UIF has done all it needed to and the onus is now on the claimants – if they qualify,” read a statement released by the UIF.

Mzie Yawa, Acting UIF Commissioner, said, "We have observed that most Covid-19 TERS payments are unsuccessful due to employers or their representatives failing to follow the application procedures correctly. The application platform provides error messages and guides employers on what they need to do to correct mistakes.

He added that failure to finalise corrections by the middle of October 2021 may result in applications considered closed.

The quantum of outstanding payments is a major concern for both Nedlac partners and the UIF.

"We appreciate efforts by among others Sactwu and Numsa who heeded our plea to talk to their employers, which has helped to have most of their issues resolved. We urge all unions and employers whose members/workers have not been paid to correct the errors or causes of non-payment as they appear on our portal, and resubmit corrected applications so payments can be finalised,” said Mzie.

A project team has been formed to find solutions for the most common errors relating to specific UIF processes of compliance or audit/risk issues.

The most common errors that the team will be focussing on fall within the following broad categories of declarations, incorrect banking details, incorrect income and invalid identity and passport numbers.

The project will involve reaching out to employers through various communication mechanisms, improved customer interface on Covid-19 TERS portal, and vigorous compliance drive.

Since the inception of the relief scheme in March 2020, the UIF has made 14,292,888 payments to employees, from 786,972 applications, totalling R63 billion.

The UIF is still verifying applications for the Workers Affected by Unrest (WABU) relief scheme. Applications for this opened towards the end of August 2021 and 255 applications have been received. These are currently going through a verification process.

"We believe everyone should appreciate that efforts must be taken to curb the TERS fraud we encountered. It is, therefore, necessary for us to take extra precaution when we process claims for WABU to prevent fraudulent claims from recurring," Mzie said.