The Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) appeals to employers to resolve any errors on their submitted Covid-19 Temporary Employer/Employee Relief Scheme (Ters) portal to enable the fund to finalise any outstanding claims.
The UIF notes that claims cannot be finalised until certain corrections are effected, which can only be done by the applicants.
“The UIF has done all it needed to and the onus is now on the claimants – if they qualify,” the fund says in a statement on September 15.
Since the inception of Ters in March 2020, the UIF has successfully made more than 14.29-million payments, totalling R63-billion to employees, from 786 972 applications received from employers.
The fund aims to rapidly decrease the number of outstanding claims and ultimately close them by the end of December, as they cannot remain open indefinitely.
The Covid-19 Ters portal provides self-explanatory error messages in cases where a claim has been unsuccessful, at which point is also provides advice to the applicant on action they need to take to resolve an error.
“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,” says acting UIF Commissioner advocate Mzie Yawa.
Partners at the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) – labour and business – have also been requested to encourage their constituencies to attend to and correct these errors on the Covid-19 Ters portal.
“We appreciate efforts by, among others, the Southern African Clothing and Textile Workers Union and National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa, who heeded our plea to talk to their employers, which has helped to have most of their issues resolved,” he says.
Yawa adds that the UIF urges all unions and employers whose members or workers have not been paid, to correct the errors or causes of nonpayment, as they appear on the UIF’s portal, and resubmit corrected applications so payments can be finalised. “
The quantum of outstanding payments is a major concern for both Nedlac partners and the UIF. As a result, 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 include declarations, incorrect banking details, incorrect income and invalid identity and passport numbers.
The project will involve reaching out to employers through various communication mechanisms, an improved customer interface on the Covid-19 Ters portal and a “vigorous” compliance drive, the UIF states.
Meanwhile, the UIF points out that it is also verifying applications for the Workers Affected By Unrest (Wabu) relief scheme, to which 255 applications have been made since the opening for application towards the end of August.
Wabu payments are expected to be made as soon as these pass the verification process, the UIF suggests.
“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 such fraud from recurring,” concludes Yawa.