NATIONAL NEWS - The Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) is resuming the payment of COVID-19 Temporary Employee Relief Scheme (TERS) benefits from today.
TERS aims to put hard cash in the hands of workers to shield them from the worst effects of the Coronavirus enforced lockdown.
"We plan a payment run for all outstanding payments for April, May and June 2020 on Monday and Tuesday.
“After that, we will plan to run payments for the 1 July to 15 August 2020 period from 23 - 26 September 2020,” said the acting UIF Commissioner Marsha Bronkhorst.
The two-week halt of payments came as the Fund was responding to observations from the Auditor-General (AG), which highlighted lax controls. The AG’s report guided the UIF on the steps to take to ensure that only deserving recipients benefit from TERS cash disbursements.
"We are aware that many workers around the country have been placed on the back foot as a result of the need to ensure that our systems stand up to scrutiny, and we close the gaps identified by the Auditor-General.
“While the inconvenience was greatly regretted, we are pleased that we have turned things around and our systems are ready to make a difference in the lives of workers again,” Bronkhorst said.
The Fund has since scheduled multiple payments to fast track payments this week.
It has also initiated discussions with government departments and agencies to assist in synchronising its data to ensure that COVID-19 TERS payments reach the “right and authentic” beneficiaries.
While the Fund will start processing payments, this applies to competent claims only and incomplete forms will not be automatically processed.
"We still have claims that are yet to be processed in the system because of outstanding information.
“We urge employers to submit this information and we have made it easier for them to know what is still outstanding by developing the discrepancy tab in the system, and they can also use FAQs on the DEL website," said Bronkhorst.
COVID-19 TERS benefit applications for March 2020 to end May 2020 will close on 25 September 2020, while the COVID-19 TERS benefit applications for June 2020 will close on 15 October 2020.
COVID-19 TERS benefit applications for July to 15 September 2020 will close on 30 October 2020.
According to the Fund, no further applications will be accepted beyond these closing dates.
However, the closing dates will not affect claims that have already been submitted, as they will be settled once all the outstanding information is finally submitted to the Fund.
“The extraordinary payments which have seen R42 billion placed in the hands of workers are part of government’s response to the pandemic, and are designed to ensure that workers are not irreparably negatively affected by the lockdown and its resultant lack of economic activity,” the UIF said. – SAnews.gov.za