The Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) Covid-19 Temporary Employer/Employee Relief Scheme (Ters) pay-outs were being delayed because some companies fraudulently claimed on behalf of dead people, the department of employment and labour said.
The department said delays were unavoidable as it had to probe such fraudulent applications first.
It, however, promised beneficiaries that those with valid claims would receive disbursements even as the department began to wind down its “massive campaign of supporting workers”.
Thousands of South Africans have relied on UIF Ters funding to survive following the closure of many businesses in March because of the lockdown.
Glitches, unfortunately, resulted in late pay-outs, while some never received any payments at all. According to the department, the UIF entity paid out R31 billion in over 6.9 million payments.
UIF commissioner Teboho Maruping said the department found that some companies tried to claim not only on behalf of deceased employees, but also with non-existent identity document numbers.
“At least over 4,000 claims made between April and May were lodged on behalf of deceased persons. [Luckily] thorough vetting has picked up all these anomalies. We are following every cent paid out and will continue processing valid claims, but some claims cannot be processed for obvious reasons,” he said.
He said there were 48,189 invalid ID numbers used in April. This figure was slightly down to 43,176 in May.
Maruping said the UIF checked ID numbers to prevent duplicate payments and also verified banking details in addition to measures such as password protection.
The department’s deputy minister Boitumelo Moloi also announced that the UIF Ters would be extended until mid-August, mainly for sectors which have not yet reopened.
“Following due diligence and consultation with the UIF actuaries, and in line with the president’s decision to extend the life of the [national state of disaster in terms of the] Disaster Management Act until August 15, we have taken the decision to similarly extend the Covid-19 Ters benefit until August 15, 2020.”
The benefit was previously granted for only April, May and June. The department said the extension comes into effect with no change to the structure and existing criteria used in the last three months.
Details regarding applications for July and part of August will be announced in due course as the department is still consulting with its social partners at the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac).
This article first appeared on Rekord East and was republished with permission.