The introduction of online systems has changed the way workers used to claim UIF benefits in South Africa.

The Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) was introduced to assist in situations where people lose their jobs, stop having an income for a certain period, or have their salary reduced.

Today I want to show steps on how to claim Unemployment Benefits, whether you qualify, when to file a claim and how long it might take to receive your UIF money.

Let’s dive right in.

Even though the economy is slowly getting back to shape, losing your job can happen to anyone and anytime, the pandemic did prove this to be true as a lot of people lost their jobs in the year 2020 – 2021.

Fortunately enough UIF and the SASSA Social Relief Grant (SRD) stepped in and encouraged people who were in dire need to apply for their unemployment benefits.

As much as the article will mainly focus on the unemployment benefits, it wouldn’t hurt to also note the other benefits that UIF provides.

5 Types of Fund Benefits Provided by UIF

  • Unemployment – For people who lost their jobs. The application should be made within 6 months of being unemployed.
  • Maternity – Maternity benefits are different from unemployment benefits. If you are pregnant, you are eligible to claim 17 weeks (121 days) maternity benefits. In the unfortunate event of a miscarriage, you may claim for 6 weeks (42 days).
  • Illness – If you are ill and unable to work for more than 14 days and not receiving a salary or only receiving a part of your salary, then you may claim illness benefits. You will also have to undergo medical treatment.
  • Adoption – This benefit applies to people that adopt a child under the age of two and take unpaid leave or only receive a portion of their salary while at home caring for the child.
  • Dependents – This benefit can be applied if the breadwinner passes on. The spouse, a dependent child under the age of 21 years or under the age of 25 years who is a learner and who was mainly dependent on the deceased are eligible to apply for the benefits within 6 months.

Now that you are well aware of all the benefits funds provided by UIF let’s get back to the unemployment benefits…

Who is eligible to apply for unemployment benefits?

Well, the insurance fund can only be claimed by employers who have been contributing to the UIF during their time of service.

You may only apply if you have lost your job due to retrenchment, contract expiration, or if your employer is bankrupt.

Unfortunately, you cannot claim if you have resigned, have been suspended, or absconded from work. You may only claim if the Commissioner for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) regards the resignation as constructive dismissal.

Documents Required to Apply for UIF

To apply you will need the following documents:

  • Your Identity document or passport.
  • Copies of your last 6 payslips.
  • A fully completed application form (U12).
  • Information supplied by the employer (U119).
  • Proof that you registered at the Department of Labour as a work seeker.

How to Apply for UIF in Person

If you prefer doing your UIF unemployment benefits application in person, then you can visit your nearest labour centre and enquire about the unemployment fund application.

You must have all the relevant required documents with you, and you will have to sign the unemployment register.

The staff will let you know when you should come back again to sign the register for as long as you are still unemployed.

If all the information you submitted is correct and your application is approved, you will start receiving money within 8 weeks of registering.

If you have not received any money or correspondence from UIF after 8 weeks, you may visit the labour centre to enquire about your application.

The details about how much money you are entitled to will be communicated to you.

How to Claim UIF Unemployment Benefits Online

Alternatively, you may apply for your unemployment benefits online via the UIF’S eFilling website.

But before you get to all of that, you will have to register on the site and activate your eFilling account. Once registered, you may apply by following the steps below:

  • Step 1: Log on to your account profile and, on your left, click on “benefit application and payments” then “apply for benefits.”
  • Step 2: Select the benefit you are applying for, in this case, “unemployment benefits”
  • Step 3: Accept the terms and conditions.
  • Step 4: Verify your banking details.
  • Step 5: Complete / verify your personal details.
  • Step 6: Fill in your occupation details and qualifications.
  • Step 7: Confirm that you are a work seeker.

Once done, you may click on “submit”, your application will be sent to UIF, and you will receive a confirmation message if the application was successful.

How Much Does UIF Pay?

The level of benefits depends on your income and the duration you have been a contributor to UIF.

The amount of money you are entitled to also depends on your credits. You earn credits as you work and contribute to the fund. For every six days you have worked you get one day’s credit up to a maximum of 238 days.

You have to work for four years in order to accumulate the maximum credits. If you have worked for less than 238 days, you can claim the number of days credits you have built up.

The benefit rates range from 38% for the highly paid workers (earning more than R97 188 per annum, R8099 per month, or R1869 per week) to 58% for the lowest-paid workers.

If you have recently been unemployed, on maternity, or unable to work due to illness then you can apply for your UIF benefits. Take the initiative and apply in time to avoid issues with your application being late.

Who Qualifies for the UIF Claim?

Remember, the unemployment benefits were created to help people who are no longer working and women on maternity leave.

So, you cannot claim under the following work situations:

  • Quit your job
  • Suspended from your job due to fraud or refused training or advise
  • Get benefits from the Compensation Fund

Just to iterate, you cannot claim the UIF benefits when you’ve been dismissed from your job for fraud.

How long does it take to get your UIF money?

It doesn’t take long for your money to be paid into your banking account.

How long it’ll take will depend on when did you sign for payment at the labour centre. Once you’ve signed, you can ask for the date, when your money will be paid.

How much you can claim depends on how much was your salary.

If you were getting a higher salary, you’re probably going to get a smaller percentage from the UIF benefits. If you were earning over R12 000 per month, you’ll receive less than R4 600 fixed monthly benefit from UIF.

UIF Claim Contact Details

For more information about claiming the UIF benefits, call 0800 843 843/0800 to speak to one of the UIF call centre.

Alternatively, visit the Department of Labour’s website for UIF contact details.