The Ultimate Guide to Claiming UIF Benefits in South Africa

The Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) is a government program that provides financial support to unemployed people in South Africa. It is designed to provide temporary financial help to those who are unable to find employment due to circumstances beyond their control.

If you are eligible for UIF benefits, you should apply as soon as possible. If you miss applying for unemployment insurance, you could end up losing out on receiving any financial support.

Claiming UIF can help you get by during tough times, but it’s not always easy to know how best to go about claiming your benefits – that’s why we’re here! In this blogpost, we’ll cover the basics of claiming UIF benefits as well as some tips on how to make the process easier.

What is the Unemployment Insurance Fund?

The Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) was created to help alleviate unemployment in South Africa. It provides short-term unemployment insurance for people who qualify for it. If you are qualified, then you can get temporary financing and other services from UIF.

The UIF is financed by contributions from employers and employees. Contributions are deducted from wages and paid towards the fund on behalf of employees. 

Claiming UIF - man using laptop

The claiming UIF benefits helps people who can’t work. It provides short-term relief when they lose their job or are unable to work because of maternity, adoption leave, or illness. Claiming UIF benefits also provides relief to families when someone passes away.

South Africa has some of the highest unemployment rates in the world which makes the UIF is an incredible resource for hardworking South Africans.

Can I claim UIF benefits?

If you are registered with the UIF and have been paying contributions to the fund, you are eligible for claiming UIF benefits in the following circumstances:

  • if you have been let go, your contract has expired, or your employer has gone out of business. You can also claim if your work hours have been reduced, but not if you left your job on purpose.
  • If you are off sick for more than two weeks, you can claim UIF benefits from the day you stopped working.
  • if you are pregnant and take maternity leave. You can claim for 17 weeks (about 4 months). If you lose the baby, or the baby is stillborn, you can claim for 6 weeks (about 1 and a half months).
  • If you adopt a child younger than two years old and then stop working. But only one of the parents can claim the UIF benefits.
  • if your spouse or child passes away.

Can foreigners claim UIF benefits?

If you are a properly documented foreign nationals and you and your employer have contributed to the UIF, you are eligible for claiming UIF benefits.

However, payouts to foreign workers take longer because of the many steps that are necessary to capture their information.

Who can make a UIF claim on behalf of deceased person?

If someone has passed away, the spouse or child can claim the benefits if the person was eligible under the UIF. 

How much will I be paid?

The UIF calculates an employee’s benefit claim using a formula. The amount you will receive depends on the number of weeks that you worked before becoming unemployed, and how much money you earned and contributed while you were employed. 

How are the benefits determined?

The first step is to figure out your daily pay rate. If, for example, if you earn R15,000 a month, then it will be 15000 (salary) * 12 (months per year) / 365 (days a year) = R 493.15 per day.

Colleagues reading paper with schedule 1

The next step considers how much time you contributed to the fund before losing your employment. As an employee, you are entitled to one day’s benefit for every six days of work. If, for example, you were employed for 200 days (about 6 and a half months), then the number of days you can claim for = 200 (workdays) / 6 = 33 claimable days.

In this example, you can therefore claim 493.15 (Rands per day) x 33 (days) = 16,273.95.

How much do I contribute?

Your employer will keep 1% of your monthly salary and pay it to the UIF as your contribution. In addition, your employer will pay an extra 1% on your behalf, making the total contribution to the fund 2%. For example, if you earn R1500 a month, then your employer will deduct R20 from your salary for you UIF, and also pay an extra R20 for your UIF. The total amount paid to the UIF will therefore be R40. 

When will I start receiving my UIF funds?

Currently the turnaround time for payment on approved unemployment claims is 15 working days. The timeframe is not yet clear for the new benefits, but many companies have already been paid.

How to claim UIF?

There are different processes for claiming UIF benefits across unemployment, illness, maternity, adoption, and death.

Claiming unemployment benefits

To get the money from after claiming UIF benefits, sign up for it at any Labour Office or register online. You will be asked to sign the unemployment registry and come back every 4 weeks, so they know you’re still searching for a job.

You must go back to the office and sign the register on your date of birth. If you are not feeling well, take a doctor’s certificate with you for verification. You will be given a white card which must be signed by UIF officers each time.

Within eight weeks of registering, the money should start coming in. You will receive payments every four-weeks until you received the full benefit. If you don’t receive your money in eight weeks, you should phone the Labour Centre and ask them to find out why there is a delay. Remember to have your name and ID number ready. Every time you get money, you will get a slip. You can use the slips to understand how much money you’ve received, and how much remains in the benefit.

For claiming UIF benefits you must provide proof of identity and registration as a work seeker. You also need to provide your last six pay slips, information from your employer (UI-19), a service certificate from your employer, and a completed registration form.

You should be prepared to:

  • Go for training or career counseling if asked to do so. 
  • Take on work if an opportunity arises
  • Keep looking for work as you will need to show proof that you have looked for work and are still unable to find a job
  • collect the benefits yourself on the date that you’re told the money will be available.

Claiming illness benefits

You can apply for illness benefits at your nearest Labour Office or you can also do it online. If you are too sick to get there yourself, someone else can pick the form up and bring it to you. You need to sign it and then return it to the office.

To claim for illness benefits you must provide proof of identity as well as your banking details. You also need to provide your last six pay slips, information from your employer (UI-19), a service certificate from your employer, and a completed registration form. You also need to provide a statement of how much money you earned during the illness period as well as a medical certificate from your doctor

You will only get paid if the doctor has told you that you need to stay off work for a certain amount of time, but not for the first two weeks off work. You will also only be paid for the days that you haven’t received normal wages from your Employer.

If you’ve lost your job in addition to being too unwell to work, it’s important that you tell the UIF officer as you might be able claim unemployment benefits as well.

Claiming death benefits

If you are the spouse or child of deceased worker, then you should apply for death benefits from the UIF within six months of their passing.

If you are the husband or wife of the deceased worker, when you go to your local Labour Office, you will need to bring proof of your identity, the last six pay slips of the deceased worker, information from their employer (UI-19), a certified copy of the death certificate as well as your marriage certificate, a service certificate from their employer, and proof of your banking details.

If you are the child of a deceased worker, you will need to complete Form UF127 and submit it to the Labour Office. You will need to bring proof of your identity, the last six pay slips of the deceased, information from their employer (UI-19), a certified copy of the death certificate as well as your birth certificate, a service certificate from their employer, proof of your banking details, proof of guardianship, and proof that you are a learner who was dependent on the deceased.

The death benefit is the amount that a person could have claimed if they were not working and unemployed. This is paid out in one payment. The Labour Office will give you a form (UF128) that the last employer of the deceased needs to fill in. This form needs to be submitted at the Labour Office.

Claiming maternity benefits

You can register for maternity benefits by going to the Labour Office in person or by completing the forms online. This benefit requires a lot of documentation so take note of the following requirements:

  • A completed registration form.
  • proof of identity.
  • your last six pay slips
  • Form UI-2.3 (application form).
  • Form UI-2.7.
  • banking details (UI-2.8) + proof of your banking details
  • Information from your employer (UI-19).
  • A service certificate from your employer.
  • Form UI-4 (follow-up form).
  • A statement of how much you got from your employer during your maternity leave.
  • A medical certificate from a doctor or a birth certificate of the baby.

When you register, you will be given a form called UF92. This form needs to be filled in by your doctor. You will then submit this form to the UIF claims officer at the Labour Office. If you are also unemployed, then you must notify the claims office as you may qualify for unemployment benefits as well.

Pregnant woman holding her belly

If you want to apply for benefits after your baby is born, you must fill out Form UF95. You need to do this with the doctor who delivered your baby. You are entitled to claim when you are on maternity leave. You can claim for up to 17 weeks (about 4 months) of your pregnancy, or 6 weeks (about 1 and a half months) if you have a miscarriage.

Claiming adoptions benefits

You can claim adoption benefits if you register with a claims officer in your local labour office. You need to apply for benefits within six months of the adoption order.

You will need copies of your identity documents, your last six pay slips, your employer’s details on form Ui-19, a service certificate issued by your employers, the adoption order, proof of your banking details, a statement of amount that you received from your employer during adoption leave, and a copy of the birth certificate of your adopted child.

Husband and wife receiving good news

You will receive the benefits via a cheque in the post which will include a form you must fill. You can fill out the form and send it back to the Labour Office.

In conclusion

The claiming UIF provides a safety net to unemployed individuals for the duration of their unemployment. It is important that you know your benefits before signing up for claiming them to avoid any misunderstandings with regards to what type of benefit you are eligible and how much money will be paid out. 

Whether you’re unemployed and looking for work or have been laid off, Umwuga can help. We know how difficult unemployment can be on a family’s finances and that is why we created a social network to help connect you with people who can help you and job opportunities that can get you back on your feet.

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