How To Claim UIF When Dismissed, Resigned or Retrenched in South Africa

The Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) is a safety net established by the South African government through the Ministry of Labour to assist workers who have lost their jobs due to no fault of their own. This initiative was introduced to cater to the wellbeing of South Africans who are out of jobs and it was enacted by the Unemployment Insurance Act, 2001 and the Unemployment Insurance Contribution Act, 2002. As stipulated in these Acts, employers collaborate to grow the fund, which also accepts contributions from workers while they are still employed.

As of now, millions of South Africans have registered under this scheme, and with the massive fund that is accumulated by the UIF, payments are disbursed promptly when workers eventually become unemployed or are unable to work due to illness, maternity, or adoption leave. More so, these funds are used to help dependents of a deceased contributing worker as a form of short-term financial aid.

How Does The UIF Operate?

Once you and your employer are registered under the scheme, you can claim unemployment compensation through the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) when the need arises. However, your eligibility for the benefits depends on your past contributions – that is, if you made any contributions before you became unemployed. More so, you won’t be able to file a claim if you’ve quit – left your job voluntarily, have been suspended, or dismissed on a bad record.

On the other hand, if you are unemployed and your eligibility for claims has been met, you can have access to the various kinds of benefits covered by UIF which include:

  • Unemployment benefits
  • Illness benefits
  • Maternity benefits
  • Adoption benefits
  • Death benefits

Who Can Claim Unemployment Benefits From the UIF?

When it comes to making claims from the Unemployed Insurance Fund, certain criteria have been laid down and this is to ensure that applicants do not exploit the main purpose of the fund. Hence, as aforementioned, employees who have been suspended, resigned of their own volition, or dismissed for unprofessional behavior, cannot claim benefits from the UIF. However, if an employee does not fall under any of those categories, and his contract of employment come to an end, or he or she is no longer working due to inevitable circumstances, the steps below will come in handy to make your claims from the Unemployment Insurance Fund:

Step 1: Go to a Department of Labor employment office and fill out the proper claim form. Depending on the type of benefit sought, the following documentation must be brought with you:

  • ID card
  • Proof of income
  • Bank details
  • Certificate of service
  • Medical certificates
  • Adoption order
  • Birth certificate(s)
  • Marriage certificate(s) and/or death certificate

Note: Do not leave the original documents with the Unemployment Insurance Fund, only submit photocopies.

Step 2: Submit the completed claim form within the specified time frame, which varies based on the circumstance surrounding the applicants. Generally, the time frame for submission of a claim form is 12 months of becoming unemployed, but not for more than 14 days. However, some timeframes that are usually considered include:

  • For illness: the period of illness must be greater than 7 days within 6 months of becoming unwell.
  • For maternity: within 12 months of giving birth to a child or the claim may be lodged at any time before giving birth. However, before claiming maternity benefits, an individual must have worked for at least 13 weeks.
  • For adoption: only one parent of the adopted kid may be provided adoption benefits within 12 months of a court order for adoption being granted, and only if the child is under the age of 2 years.
  • For death: within the first 18 months of the employee’s death.

Step 3: You may be required to provide further information the claims officer may require in order to investigate the claim. These might differ based on the claim and the circumstances surrounding the claim.

Step 4: Follow up on the claim’s investigation to know whether or not it was authorized. If authorized, the claims officer will tell the employee details of the benefit to which he or she is entitled, the amount that will be paid, and whether there are any other criteria that must be met before the benefit will be paid; such as periodic reporting to an employment office. However, if the claim was not approved, the claims officer will inform the applicant that his or her claim was defective and why.

Step 5: Once every paperwork and investigation has been carried out and approved, you can proceed to go and receive the benefit money from the employment office where the claim was filed.

How to File For Unemployment Insurance Benefits From the UIF

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If you are eligible for the unemployment insurance benefit, the first step is to sign an unemployment register at a department of labor office. You must then come every 4 weeks to sign the registry and demonstrate that you are still in need of unemployment benefits. The necessary forms can be obtained directly from the department’s offices or downloaded from credible platforms online and once you have started the application process by filling out the requisite forms, a UIF officer will also offer you a white card.

More so, throughout the requisite 4 weeks, you must guarantee that you return to the workplace on time. If you are unable to go there due to illness, bring a doctor’s note to the department and make sure the officer signs your white card before leaving the office.

Documents Required To Claim Unemployment Benefits

To be eligible for unemployment benefits, you must have the following:

  • A photocopy of a 13-digit bar-coded identification card.
  • A copy of your most recent 6 pay stubs.
  • Information provided by your boss (UI-19).
  • A letter from the employer attesting to your service.
  • Proof of work seeker registration.
  • A registration form that is completely filled out.

Aside from filling the application form and providing the necessary documents, if you want to receive unemployment benefits, you need to be prepared to do the following:

  • If the UIF officer requests it, attend training or professional counseling.
  • Make yourself available for employment. If you are offered work, you must be willing to accept it.
  • Request jobs from a variety of companies. You will be given a paper to sign stating that you have looked for work and that no positions are available.
  • You must pick up your unemployment benefits from the Labor Office on the due date
  • Your benefit must be collected by you, and you should come along with your white card and ID book on the day of collection.

Claiming Illness Benefits

Falling ill on the job is an inavertible occurrence and it ranks as one of the most common benefits employees would love to cover using the UIF. To apply for illness benefits, you must either register at your local Labour Office or register and claim online. However, if you are too ill to go to the office, a friend or family member can pick up the form and deliver it for you to sign. Ensure that you fill the form appropriately and within a considerable time frame, that is, the stipulated time required to file for claims in case of illness.

Once you have gotten the form, ensure to fill it appropriately and the completed form must then be returned to the Labor Office and along with the form, you will need to provide the necessary items.

Documents Required To Claim Illness Benefits

  • A photocopy of your bar-coded identification card
  • Copies of your most recent 6 pay stubs.
  • Information provided by your boss (UI-19).
  • A letter from the employer attesting to your service.
  • Proof of bank account information.
  • A statement detailing the amount of money you got from your employer during your illness.
  • A registration form that is completely filled out.
  • A medical certificate from your doctor is also required.

Benefits will be paid for the period you are away from work due to a doctor’s appointment, but not for the first two weeks. You’ll also only be compensated for the time you weren’t receiving regular payments from your job.

The illness benefits will be paid to you in the form of a check that will be mailed to you once your request has been approved. However, remember that you can’t get sick benefits if your condition was caused by your own negligence, or if you refuse treatment or it is gathered that you don’t follow the doctor’s orders.

Claiming Maternity Benefits

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If you would like to claim maternity benefits when you are away from work nursing your baby, you must either register and make your claim in person at the Labour Office, arrange for someone to go in your place and handle the entire procedure, or better still, register and claim online. However, irrespective of the method you opt for, as an applicant for maternity benefits, you must provide all required documentation to the labor office.

Documents Required To Claim Maternity Benefits

  • A passport or identity document with a 13-digit barcode.
  • Copies of your most recent 6 pay stubs.
  • For financial information, use form UI-2.8.
  • Information provided by your boss in the UI-19 form.
  • A letter from the employer attesting to your service.
  • Proof of your bank account details.
  • A statement detailing the amount paid to you by your employer during your maternity leave.
  • A dully completed UI-2.7 that is, a user interface form.
  • A UI-2.3 form that is, an application form that is completely filled out.
  • A doctor’s certificate or the baby’s birth certificate is required.
  • A dully completed UI-4 form that is, a follow-up form.
  • A UF92 form. This will be handed to you when you register. Your doctor is required to complete this form.

Once the UIF Claims Officer has approved your claim, you will be mailed a post containing the claims check. To apply for benefits after the baby is born, you need to complete Form UF95 with help from the doctor who delivered the baby.

Claiming Adoption Benefits

You must either register with a claims officer at your local Labour Office or register and claim online if you want to claim adoption benefits.

To get started on this process, you will need the following items:

  • A copy of your government-issued ID that has your photograph
  • Copies of your most recent 6 pay stubs.
  • Form UI-19 that contains information about your employer.
  • A certificate of service from your employer.
  • The adoption order that was issued.
  • Proof of your bank account information.
  • A statement detailing how much money you got from your company while on adoption leave.
  • A copy of your child’s birth certificate if he or she was adopted.

Note: For your adoption claims to be approved, you must apply for benefits within 6 months after receiving the adoption order. Once the claim is approved, the adoption benefits which are written in checks are sent via mail. More so, the payment will be accompanied by a form that must be completed and returned to the Claims Officer at the Labour Office.

Claiming Death Benefits

The Unemployment Insurance Fund has ensured that employees leave behind a considerable amount for their loved ones upon their demise. This hereby means that once an employee on this scheme dies, the deceased worker’s husband or wife, as well as any minor children, are eligible to receive death benefits from the UIF.

To ensure that the application for death claims is hitch-free, the claim for the death benefits must be filed within 6 months following the worker’s death. After filing your claim, You must go to the Labour Office if you were the dead worker’s husband or wife.

Documents Required To Claim Death Benefits

  • Your proof of identity to validate the relationship between you and the decease.
  • Copies of the deceased’s 6 most recent pay stubs.
  • A dully filled UI-19 form that will contain the details of the employer of the decease.
  • A copy of the death certificate that has been certified.
  • A copy of your marriage certificate that has been certified.
  • A letter from the employer of the decease attesting to his or her service.
  • Proof of bank account details.

As earlier mentioned, you can file a claim if you are the child of a deceased worker. This can be done by filling out Form UF127 and sending it to the Labour Office and for this process, you will need to provide the following documents:

  • A copy of your government-issued photo ID, preferably one that has the same surname as the deceased.
  • Photocopies of the last 6 pay stubs of the decease.
  • A duly completed UI-19 form with the information of the employer of the decease.
  • A letter from the employer of the decease attesting to his or her service.
  • A copy of your birth certificate to prove that the deceased was your parent.
  • Proof of bank account information.
  • A copy of the death certificate that has been certified.
  • Proof of guardianship should be presented.
  • Evidence indicating you (the child) was a student who was reliant on the deceased.

Once all the above documents are presented, you (the child) will be given the UF128 form, which you should take to the last employer of the deceased who will fill it. The form will then be submitted to the Labour Office for filing.

However, it is important to note that if the worker had been unemployed, the death benefit would have been the amount they could have claimed as unemployment benefit. In this case, the sum due is paid out all at once.

Some Frequently Asked Questions

How Long After Resignation Should I Claim My UIF?

For employees who resigned from their jobs, there is no UIF package to cover their self-imposed state of unemployment. However, employees who lost their jobs for reasons which were no fault of theirs should apply for UIF benefits, not more than 12 months after they lose their jobs or when their employment contract comes to an end, whichever happens first.

How Many Months Can I Claim Payments From The UIF?

Payment of benefits from the UIF can be claimed for a period of 12 months if you have all of your credit days. Credits are earned in the following manner: for every 4 days you work as a contributor, you will gain one day’s credit, this pattern continues up to a maximum of 12 months. More so, based on these calculations, an employee must have worked as a contributor for more than 4 years to be eligible for the full credit days.

Does UIF Pay Applicants Every Month & What Is The Maximum Monthly Payout?

Sections 13 (1) and (2) of the UI Act are used by the UIF to compute employee benefits and according to the act, salary benefits will be capped at R17,712 a month, and the employee will be paid according to the income replacement rate sliding scale (38 percent -60 percent) established by the UI Act of 2001.

Is UIF Calculated Based On The Gross or Net Salary?

Although you will pay SITE and/or PAYE tax depending on your net earnings, the government requires you to contribute 1% of your gross wages to the Unemployment Insurance Fund. Your employer is also required to pay 1% of your gross earnings, bringing the total monthly contribution to 2%. This percentage is then applied to your salary – preferably monthly salary and the necessary deductions will be made and transferred to the UIF as payments made by the employee.

What Income Scale Does UIF Use To Compute Payments?

With regards to how payments from the UIF are disbursed, it is worth noting that the applicable UIF rates are determined by a benefit scale that runs from 30-60% of your pay for the first 238 credit days. After this level, the scheme will then charge a flat 20% rate for the next 239 credit days. However, to make their payments worthwhile, low-income earners receive a higher share of UIF.

How Long Does The First UIF Payment Take?

Once your application has been approved and you have signed the register at the Labour Office, your first payment from the UIF will be deposited into your bank account within 2 weeks or 15 days. However, the payout timeframe can also be very short as it can fall between 2 days to 4 days.

Once the payments are made, you will not only get a credit alert from your bank but you will also receive notifications of the payments via mail. However, if payments are prolonged beyond the timeframes given (after your application has been approved), it could be due to unplanned circumstances and there is no need to fret, everything will be sorted out in the shortest possible time.

How Are UIF Benefit Payments Computed?

A specific formula is used by the UIF to compute an employee’s claim for benefits. A claim will be based on his or her income previous to becoming unemployed and will be calculated on a scale, with the maximum income threshold being met.

So, for an employee who earns less than the maximum salary, he/she is entitled to a payment that is not less than the stipulated minimum wage in South Africa. However, employees who earn more than the maximum income threshold are only eligible for a portion of that amount.

To get the payment sums, an employee’s income is calculated by looking at his or her daily rate. This hereby means that an employee will be entitled to claim one day’s pay for every 5 days worked, up to a maximum of 365 days during the course of a 4-year period of employment. In other words, if an employee has paid into the Unemployment Insurance Fund for 4 years, he or she will be eligible for 365 days of payments. However, in circumstances when the employee has paid into the Unemployment Insurance Fund for a shorter period of time, he or she will only be able to claim one day for every 5 days worked.

However, it is important to note that an employee may only claim benefits while unemployed; however, if the employee receives compensation from the Compensation Fund, a pension, or earns money, he or she may not claim benefits from the Unemployment Insurance Fund. More so, irrespective of the calculations that are carried out, an employee may not be paid a benefit that exceeds his or her regular pay.

Tyna G
Tyna G
A digital nomad with a never-ending curiosity and passion for discovering new places, cultures and creative outlets - this author has been writing her way around the globe for many years. Everything from entertainment to biographies, reviews to travel tips, you’ll always find stunning high quality content coming from her


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