Governed by the Unemployment Insurance Act of 2001 and the Unemployment Insurance Contributions Act of 2002 (the UIC Act), the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) is an insurance scheme in South Africa that provides short-term relief to workers when they lose their work and become unemployed or are unable to work due to maternity parental leave, adoption or illness.
It is a well-thought scheme that also provides relief to the dependants of a deceased contributor. UIF is under contract to pay the dependants of a deceased, a worker who got fired went bankrupt or whose contract has come to an end, as well as a domestic employee who has more than one employer can all lay claims to their UIF benefits, as long as they were contributing a quota to the scheme while they were working.
Interestingly, not everyone knows how to claim the UIF benefit, should any of the above instances happen, that is why this article has been put together not only to show you the how but to also show you all the requirements and steps to take.
Who Is Qualified To Claim Benefits From The UIF?
The UIF benefit is not available just to anyone who just lost his/her job. You qualify for the benefits if:
- You have been contributing to the UIF while you worked.
- Your employer terminates your service/contract and not when you absconded from work, you were suspended or resigned. However, you may claim benefits if and only when the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation, and Arbitration (CCMA) investigates and considers your resignation as constructive dismissal.
- To qualify for UIF benefits, you must, however, register as a work seeker and apply for the benefits as soon as you become unemployed or within six months of the termination of your employment/contract.
What Forms are Needed to Claim UIF?
To claim the unemployment benefits from the UIF, you need the following documents:
- A fully completed registration form
- A copy of 13-digit bar-coded identity document
- Information supplied by your employer (UI19)
- A service certificate from the employer
- Proof of registration as a work seeker
- A copy of your last six payslips
Can You Claim Your UIF Benefits Online?
Yes, you can now apply for and submit your Application for UIF benefits online. Before now, you can only apply for the UIF benefits in UIF centers and offices across the nation, however, in 2019, the South African Labour Department launched the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) uFiling, a free online digital service that allows employees with internet access to apply for their UIF services online.
With this, employees can register, submit, declare their earnings, claim and have their claim tracked and processed speedily. The centers are, however, still open to applicants who would prefer to begin their process of applying for their claims there as against doing it online; they can walk into the centers, pick the registration forms and apply but for applicants who would prefer the online process, below are the steps to take.
uFiling Registration Process
To claim your UIF benefits online, you must first apply for them, and to apply for them, you must have an account registered on the uFilling platform. With the registration, you get a unique login name and password which grants you access to use the platform to not only register for your benefits but also track it amidst other things.
- A valid South African ID with 13 Digit South African ID number
- Your e-mail address where all correspondence will be emailed
- Phone number
Step By Step Process
Step 1: On your browser, go to www.ufiling.co.za to access the home page. Once the page comes up, click on “REGISTER” in the top right-hand corner to review the terms and conditions for use of the Unemployment Insurance Fund portal. You need to accept the terms and conditions and then click on “Continue” to proceed.
Step 2: Complete all the required information ranging from username to email and click on “Register”. This will send the captured data to the UIF for verification.
Step 3: As soon as the verification process is done and correct, you will receive an activation message through your preferred method of contact. Click on the link provided to activate your account. Use the username and temporary password provided in the email or SMS to log in to your new uFiling account.
Step 4: After your first login, the system will require you to change your password, follow the info provided and do so.
Step 5: For security reasons, you will then have to complete a vetting process by confirming demographic information about yourself, which will be compared to the data available to the Department of Labour. Once you answer all questions correctly, your vetting is complete and successful. You will then be directed to a page where you can update your personal details before you can proceed to the uFiling website.
However, If you miss any of the questions or they were answered incorrectly, a message will appear to indicate that you failed the vetting process. Please contact uFiling Support through the “UIF Services Support”.
UIF Benefit Application and Payments Online
Individuals can apply online for the following UIF benefits:
- Unemployment Benefits
- Adoption Benefits
- Maternity Benefits
- Illness Benefits
- Reduced Time Benefits
Below are step-by-step procedures on how to go about it.
Step 1: Sign into your uFilling account, click on “Benefit Application and Payments” on the left side of the dashboard, and then click on “Apply for Benefits”.
Step 2: Select the type of Benefit you want to apply for, and click on “Apply” in the bottom right corner. Once you click the apply button, the Terms and Conditions would pop up. You must accept the terms and conditions to proceed and to do so, check the tick box and click on “Next”
Step 3: Verify your bank details and click on “Next” to continue. If it pops up incorrect bank details, you will have to click on “Banking Details Incorrect?” to update your details.
NB: Bank details may only be captured once on the uFiling system. To update new bank details, you will have to download the UI2.8 Form from the Department of Labour website at www.labour.gov.za. One portion of the UI2.8 Form must be completed by your bank and the other portion by you. Email the completed UI2.8 Form and your contact details to [email protected]
Step 4: Confirm or update your personal details, including physical and postal addresses and click on the “Next” button. Complete the information related to your occupation and
qualification and click on next.
STEP 5: Update your work seeker information and click on ‘submit’ when
you are done to send your application to the UIF. You will receive a confirmation message that your application was successful.
The processes are the same for all Benefit types. All you need to do is to select the type of benefit you wish to apply for.
What To Do If Your Application For Benefits Was Declined?
You can lodge a notice of appeal if your application for benefits was declined by taking the following steps:
Step 1: Click on “Benefit Application and Payments” on the left-hand side. Select “Notice of Appeal” and click on the “Next” button.
Step 2: Verify or update Personal details if needed, complete required information related to the declined application
Step 3: Click on the “Submit” button to lodge your Notice of Appeal
Checking Your Claim Status Via USSD Code
Applicants can also check their claims via zero-rated UIF USSD code while sitting at home without having the frustration of queuing for hours at the Labour Department. This is available only to those who have applied. All you need to do is to dial *134*843* from your cell phone and your claim status will be displayed: whether it is approved or rejected
How To Check If You Are Registered For UIF
Checking your UIF status can either be done by contacting the nearest Labour Centre with their identity number at hand. Calling their service center on 012 337 1680 or 0800 843 843 or sending an email @[email protected]
What Is The UIF Reference Number and What Is It Used For?
UIF Reference Number is a set of unique letters and numbers issued to every employer that registers with the UIF, authorizing it to deduct a certain amount from an employee’s pay/salary as part of their contribution to the UIF contribution. It is from this amount that employees are paid should they lose their jobs or become temporarily unavailable to work.
How To Generate Your UIF Reference Number Online
Note that registering for PAYE automatically activates your registration for Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) and gives you your unique UIF reference number. In case you have forgotten and would want to get it, you will have to take these 3 simple steps:
- Log onto the UIF website by logging on to unifecc.labour.gov.za/covid19/getYourUifRefJsp
- Enter your 10 digit PAYE number from SARS and click on the button that says button “Get UIF number”
- Take note of your reference number. It will be 1234567/1 (only example) It is 7 digits / and 1 digit