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Good news for those claiming UIF

Oct 2, 2017


Please note that this website cannot answer your questions about your UIF application. You must apply and submit your continuation forms via the UIF website. If you are struggling with the online application process, you can email Ms Ditoro Makgato, Mr Deon van Niekerk or Mr Tsepo Dube.

UIFIf you’re going on maternity leave or have been retrenched, you can claim from the government’s Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF), which should help replace a portion of your income and tide you over until you can find another job or return to work after having a baby.

If you haven’t claimed UIF before or are unsure of the process it would help to become informed about recent changes around how claims can be made and how much you qualify for.

“The UIF bill was signed into Act in January this year, so we no longer refer to it as a bill; this means it has become law. However, the Amendment Act is not yet effective as this requires the promulgation of the implementation date. The Act will be implemented once the President promulgates the implementation date,” explains Makhosonke Buthelezi, director of communications and marketing at the Department of Labour (DoL).

The good news is that the changes mostly favour the recipient. Here are some of the main benefits and improvements of the Amendment Act:

  1. Payment for the unemployment benefit will be for 12 months instead of the current 8 months.
  2. Maternity benefit will be paid at a flat rate of 66% instead of the current sliding scale of between 38% and 60%.
  3. The period within which to submit claims is increased from 6 months to 12 months for unemployment, maternity, illness, and adoption benefits. For death benefit you can submit a claim within 18 months.
  4. Public servants and people in learnerships are going to be able to contribute to and claim from UIF.
  5. Workers who work for reduced hours or a short time will be able to claim for the lost hours.

Service delivery improvements

Claiming UIF has not been smooth sailing for all concerned. However the DoL has engaged in several initiatives to improve its services. For example, you can claim UIF online, much in the same way you can file your taxes online.

Internal changes have also been made. “We have started to increase bandwidth in some of the labour centres to enable faster processing of documents and this is going to be rolled out in other labour centres throughout the country,” says Buthelezi.

It’s not unheard of to receive your benefits weeks after filing. “At the moment claims submitted in Cape Town are approved in record times of two to three weeks if all documents are complete and correct. The DoL always quotes 35 working days (seven weeks). Some claims can take much longer if something goes wrong. Six-month delays are rare but do occur occasionally,” says Klaus Arnhard, founder of agency UIF-Hero.

However the DoL says it is looking into this following a number of workshops around ‘process re-engineering’, which has resulted in a Service Delivery Improvement Plan. “The DoL has also reviewed claim turnaround times to make them shorter so clients can enjoy their benefits at the time they need them,” explains Buthelezi.

Why agency involvement will be reduced

One of the more contentious changes, however, has been the prohibition in the use of agencies to process claims on your behalf. The DoL’s past inefficiencies has resulted in an entire industry springing up to help applicants process claims, particularly maternity benefits. Agencies providing such services include UIF-Hero, Bunny Hop, UIF Services, and Little Monkey UIF Claims. They typically charge a once-off fee ranging from R400 to R850.

The new Act says: “When processing application for benefits neither the Fund nor any agency or person purporting to act on behalf of the applicant may charge a fee against the applicant.’’ But industry commentators argue that agencies were created to fulfil a need and to help with the complexities of making a claim. They add that it creates jobs and results in more successful claims that are usually processed in shorter periods of time.

But the bone of contention is that they are still charging for a service that’s meant to be free. The DoL points out that no agencies are accredited by UIF. “The UIF discourages the use of agencies because our services are for free, and agencies do not get preferential treatment from the Fund. The current Act does not encourage nor prohibit the use of agencies. However, the new amendment Act prohibits anyone from charging a fee for processing UIF claims, including agencies.”

Until the Act is promulgated it’s still possible to hire an agency to act on your behalf but once it comes into effect, agencies may have to offer different services and charge for their time instead of for processing the claim.

Why it’s still difficult to claim

While much has been done to smooth the process of claiming UIF, it’s still a difficult process. Michael Bagraim, Shadow Deputy Minister of Labour points out that it’s not uncommon for the DoL to lose paperwork and to ask people to come back again. “Where we are at the moment it’s a nightmare and we’re hoping to get to a stage where it becomes more user-friendly,” he says.

However, he is optimistic. “I’m actually feeling quite positive and have spoken at length with the new director of the UIF and he really wants to ensure that things happen. The nightmare continues but I’m hoping to see light at the end of the tunnel.”

Meanwhile, Arnhard points out that the problem could also be on the claimant’s side. “There are a number of reasons [why claims are not processed or rejected], but the most severe problem is the employment history. The employment history should display your entire career with all employers, your salary per employer, your start and end date with each employer and why you left, for example: resignation. In our estimate about 75% of employment histories are not complete,” he says.

Ultimately, it’s vital to ensure that you have all the correct paperwork for the DoL to process your claim. If you’re unsure, you still have the ability to consult an expert. “It’s all purely administrative. Legally a person needs to qualify. Once that’s satisfied you need to prepare for long queues by getting information on time. That is the only way,” says Osborne Molatudi, partner at Hogan Lovells.

This article first appeared in City Press.


  1. good morning Maya, it says with assessor since 14 Feb 2020, but still not a payment date, very 🙁

    • i have heard payments have not been made, the system is under pressure

  2. Hi I have been running up an down for my deceased husband uif I was in johannesburg at that time we are still married I have never heard from the labour department when I did contact them they said its in the uif banking account what do I do.m
    They put me through to all different people.please advise.14years an still going on.i hope the president can help us all widows an parents that lost a great loss .

    • There are email addresses linked to the names at the top of the article

  3. Good morning my husband claim for sick benefits on the 4th Feb2020 how can I check when his payment will be ready. We ware waiting for more than 35 days?
    Please urgent

  4. I’ve been trying to register on ufiling but kept on being told that the registration has been locked. I don’t know what to do…

    • My only suggestion is to call them, but the lines are insane.. call centre (0800 843 843)

        • Is there perhaps phone numbers we can call, because they do not answer on that number.

          • Check the top of the article – I have links to email addresses. I have heard that the system is not working due to the increased demands

      • I tried to that number and it Answered by machine, nd 2hen I tried to register online they don’t ask my Hank account

        • Please refer to the comment at the top of the article – it includes links to the relevant people.

  5. Where will we sign for uif during lockdown march 2020.No Labour departments have been taking calls

  6. Hi
    I have submitted online and my claim status says “Completed by Assessor”
    What does this mean? What is the way forward now?
    Do I need to do the “Continuation of Benefits” Section also?
    I am unclear on what the next steps are?
    Please if anyone can assist?

  7. Hi, I am suppose to go to our local Labour office to sign for another payment. The queque there is unbelievable. And with our country that goes into lockup, the following questons. Will the offices still be open? Will I loose my money if I do not go there? Can I apply online for my payment? If yes, how do I do that? I am a pensioner.

    • I don’t have a clear answer yet on whether offices remain open but I did receive this:
      Those beneficiaries who still have to sign the payment of continuation forms are encouraged to do so on uFiling. They must first register on uFiling to create their profile and then go to the continuation of payment part.
      We encourage our beneficiaries to have a bank account because that is the only way they can receive payment.

  8. I claimed my uif but tell me that not approve i don’t know what can i do.

  9. Hi I went to sign on the 17th of march and I still have not received my first payment..what can I do ?

  10. Good day Maya
    May I confirm. Upon registering for UIF online do I still need to go to the department of labour? Or is registering online enough?

  11. Good day I left my job in dec 2019 can I claim uif as nw I am finding it hard to get a job

  12. I have claimed on 21 of March 2020 I am still waiting for money. How long those it take to get the money now

  13. Good day, Its been my 5th payment so far, I claimed on the 03/03/2020 and got paid 9 days later, it was 34 days since I last claimed. I received R600 less? The time before I claimed was in 27 days and I got R600 more?
    I rely on this to pay my rent.
    Also I read uif relocated, so uif online system has been down since my last payment, they then said it will be operating in April? I reveive no email nor sms to this effect, as I have been locked out my account for weeks and didnt know why, surely they could have notified us?

  14. Is there a maxium capped monthly payment one recieves or is it based on percentage of last gross income.For example a person earning R60 000 pm what will his expected payment be.

    What is the sliding scale payment expected from. Month 1 to 8.

  15. I have to submit my forms at dept of labour on the 6th of April 2020 for my second payment and during this time the country undergoing lock down. Is there alternative way to submit my documents.

      • I’ve been trying to use the online link since November 2019 to register and it never works and when I send them email they never reply as well. I’m meant to go check tomorrow although I applied at another province I was told I can go to any department of labour office. Hoping tomorrow it’s open

  16. Hi Maya since I claim my uif on 13 February 2020, they sad my claim will be communicated within 35 days, but they give me a date to sign which is 14 March 2020, I did go and sign today is 24 March 2020 I never get money so far but I dd submit correct paper of bank form and ui19 form.. So now I dnt knw was problem pliz advise me.

  17. I want to know if i can draw my uif i haven workes since 2018.when to go study.

    • no you have to claim within six months and you have to have had sufficient credits

      • Is there a maxium capped monthly payment one recieves or is it based on percentage of last gross income.For example a person earning R60 000 pm what will his expected payment be.

        What is the sliding scale payment expected from. Month 1 to 8.

  18. Hi I did the claim on 21February but I didn’t receive the first payment why??

  19. Hi I signed for my benefits for the fourth time and like normally my money is in the next day but this month it was not in the reason why I’m asking is it always came in the same time the next day after the signing till up to my fourth time can anyone tell me why it’s not in

  20. Working in the Education field, the ECD facility I’m working at is closing due to Covid-19. There will be a substantial loss of income due to parents not paying fees in the period of closure. We were informed that we may claim from the fund but we are unsure of how to apply. When doing Ufiling they ask if you are registered as a job seeker, which technically is not the case so how do we proceed? and when exactly can we apply?

    • I have asked UIF for clarity, but there is provision for “short pay” – this is usually when a company cuts hours for economic reasons.

    • your company needs to inform the UIF of the temporary closure. You apply online The tabs on “UIF benefits” and “manuals” assists in how the process works

      • I received feedback that this process can not be done through ufiling as there is additional forms that ufiling don’t make provision for. UI-2.7

        • Your have to do it through your employer – they must contact UIF

      • The UIF has now told me that the company has to apply on your behalf

    • Hi I apply for UIF and was told that I will be notified I received a sms saying my claim was rejected wat stand me to do

    • It’s been months now I have not received any thing

  21. Hi i just claim uif recently i got my first payment and am suppose to sign for the second payment on the 8th of april 2020 bt i have been re-instated bck to old job..may i ask if i wil get the second payment on the 8th of april or it will be cut

    • If you are employed on 8 April you cannot receive the unemployment benefit

  22. Hi, I submitted my UIF maternity claim in December 2019 when I started my maternity leave, it is now March 2020 (over 3 months) and I still have not received any feedback besides the sms that I should contact them within 35 days.I went to DoL a couple of times only to be told to be patient as my application is still in process. What’s the point of paying and claiming UIF benefits if you can’t get help when you need it the most?


  24. Which number can I call to check when will I recieve my next pay as I have submitted my documents for my second pay

  25. I lost a job last on 20 June 2019 do l still have a chance to apply for uif even though the 12 months law started this year l?

  26. good day i registered my claim and revived a sms what about my u19 form

  27. Hi I left work in 2015 and didn’t get my UIF so I was wondering if I got a job again does my UIF continue or do I start from scratch

Maya Fisher-French author of Money Questions Answered

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