Claiming From UIF After Being Retrenched

2020 has posed a great many challenges to businesses and households alike. Due to the strain on the South African economy, companies are forced to cut back on their expenses – which sadly, often includes their employees. Thankfully, all formally employed South Africans have a financial recourse to see them through these dark days: the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF). During one’s working life, a small segment of an employee’s income is paid into the Fund, and should this employee be retrenched or dismissed, they can alleviate much of their household’s financial strain by claiming from the UIF while they seek employment elsewhere. With so many South Africans facing the reality of losing their jobs, we have compiled a quick guide on how to apply for UIF claims.

Benefits Covered By UIF

  • Unemployment benefits

You can claim UIF if you find yourself unemployed due to dismissal or retrenchment and you have been contributing to the fund. However, you may not claim from UIF if you resigned from your job.

  • Illness Benefits

If you have been incapacitated by an illness to the point you cannot work for longer than two weeks, you qualify for UIF Illness Benefits.

  • Maternity benefits

If you’re pregnant and wondering how you can make ends meet during your maternity leave, you can fall back on UIF. You may take maternity leave at any time in the four months leading up to the expected date of birth. UIF can cover you for the six weeks after the birth, during which you may not work.

  • Death benefits

If the deceased was one of the main contributors to the Fund, the spouse or minor child of the deceased may claim death benefits.

How Much UIF Can I Claim?

The amount that you can claim from the UIF depends upon how long you have been contributing to the fund. UIF pays out a percentage of the wage or salary that you earned while you were contributing to the fund. The highest amount that would be paid would be 58% of what you earned per day.

If you have been contributing for four years or more, then you may claim for up to 238 days. Contributing for a shorter period means you may only claim one day for every six days that your worked while contributing to the fund. A woman taking maternity leave may only claim up to 121 days.

How Do I Claim UIF?

Given the subject of this article, we will only be unpacking the process of claiming from UIF unemployment benefits in cases of dismissal or retrenchment.

To claim unemployment benefits, you must provide the following documentation:

  • Copy of 13-digit, bar-coded, identity document
  • Copies of your last six payslips
  • UI19 document from your employer
  • Service certificate from your employer
  • Proof of registration as a work seeker
  • Completed UIF application form

As part of claiming from unemployment, you may be required to:

  • Go for training or career counselling
  • Be available to work, if any position is offered to you
  • Approach different companies for available positions. If no positions are available, you must provide a signed form to prove that you have looked for work.

The Process Of Claiming From UIF

  1. To claim from the fund, you must visit your nearest Labour Centre. Remember to bring your ID document. Here you will have to sign the unemployment register. You will be asked to come back again to sign once more. This process will have to be repeated every four weeks to show that you still need to claim from the UIF benefits.
  2. When you return to the Labour Centre on the required date, you will be issued a white card, which the UIF officer will sign each time you register. If you are ill and cannot appear at the centre on the correct date, you must bring a doctor’s note when you are able to go to the centre.
  3. Once your claim has been processed, return to the centre to collect the money from the Fund within eight weeks of registering. If you don’t receive this money within eight weeks, you should query the delay with the Labour Centre. After this first pay-out, you must return to the Labour Centre every four weeks to collect your next instalment. This will go on until your benefits are depleted.
  4. Each time you receive money from the UIF you will also receive a slip that will indicate how much you have received and how much of the Fund remains available to you.
A man sits next to a box of his belongings while he uses his phone to look up how to apply for UIF. Little does he know this process could be made easier with an lawyer and affordable legal insurance.
Image: Adobe Stock / VAKSMANV

The process of claiming from the Unemployment Insurance Fund can be made even simpler with the right legal aid on hand. With legal insurance, you have access to attorneys and other legal professionals, who can make sure you receive the pay-out you are entitled to as a contributor to the Fund. These professional legal services are made much more affordable thanks to legal insurance. As with all forms of insurance, it’s best to invest well before those times when days are dark and friends are few. Apply for a legal insurance quote today and hold on to your silver lining.

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