Good news for those claiming UIF

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.

70 CommentsLeave a comment

  • The above article it is stated that UIF benefits can be claimed if your working hours are reduced or if you are placed on short time. The labour department denies this and says you can only claim if you had been tretrenched. Please advise?

  • Hi there
    I was on maternity leave last year and claimed maternity uif. When I was suppose to return to work, our company closed and gave me documents to claim the normal uif after my maternity. I went to labour department and they sent me back to complete more forms seeing that I was on maternity, then they have me a page with a date to when I should go sign, I went to go sign and the lady informed me that my last payment was the payment of my maternity. After all the applications and asking if I qualify, to get this outcome is not fair. I went through all the effort and do not understand why I dont qualify

  • Hi

    what does the following mean.

    30001183822 Application for Benefits 2018/05/10 Siyaya Status – Not Approved/Refused

    i have no idea.

    this appeared after i went the first time to sign. basically my second visit. first visit was when i applied.

  • I was at the Department of labour today one of the official had just push me away saying I left my job for long time and just pushed me.for I did not know that I should claim within 6 months of losing my job,because I had a job after losing the other job

  • Good day,

    In the above article it is stated that UIF benefits can be claimed if your working hours are reduced or if you are placed on short time. The labour department denies this and says you can only claim if you had been tretrenched. Please advise?

  • Today I signed on for my first payment. Next sign on is the 23 July 2018. I am out of town on the 23 July. Can I sign on again the week thereafter?

  • Hi

    I have just claimed the death benefit for my mom who passed on in December. I am a student under the age of 25 and i have submitted all the documentation. I am unsure of how the process works.

    When can i expect to be contacted about the status of my application and how will it take to pay out.

    Is the procedure for the death benefit different from the others.

    Please help

  • Hi Maya

    I have applied for UIF at Randburg office. All my documents were correct and I was told to return on the 7/6/2018 which I will do.
    Kindly help me please: 1. must I go every month for it or only the first time?
    2. One of the forms is for my banking details, but I have decided to use another account. Can I get the form online for the Bank to complete for confirmation of the Bank account?

    Thank you SO much!!

  • hi im maggie,i claimed maternity benefit on the 8th of may 2018 still no payment received.i want to know how long does it take for first payout to come?

  • Hello Maya

    Can you please advise on the following:-

    We have learners who were paid as and when the education authority provided the funds. We have deducted UIF from them.

    How do I fill in the UI-19 for them as they were not earning a monthly salary.

    Your guidance is appreciated

  • Didn’t know that I have to claim in 6 months time,due staying in Eastern Cape, I never got money for my deceased husband in 2007. I also didn’t know anything about uif claims, does that mean I will never get the money? I claimed after 6 months, Thanks,

  • Hi Maya! I want to do my application online so i wanted to know if I can send my bank statement as my account confirmation instead of the UI-2.8?

  • Hi I signed on the 14 of may 2018 and was told my documents still not approved and must come back 14 June 2018 when do I receive uif

  • Dear Maya
    I completed an on-line application for UIF benefits AND completed actual forms at the Cape Town Dept. of Labour in mid-March 2018 and have not heard anything from the Department thus far ? Can you please let me know the reason for the delay ?

  • i submitted my claim on15th may 2018 on online system when can I expect a reply if approved – do they confirm via email ?

  • Hi Maya,

    I am currently on maternity leave been working for a previous company since Dec 2016 now the company has merged with another company so we were advised to resign from the previous one on the same day we started with this new company now i have been going back and forth to apply for my UIF as i have been asked fr different docs hence now they want a letter explaining about the company and reason why we resigned from the previous and on the same day started on the new company. All my Documents are in order now the company is delaying to get me the letter. Kindly advise on this issue…

  • Good day, I’ve created a profile on I’m now trying to access the “application for benefits ” pdf. On both my phone and laptop the form won’t load. I have the newest versions of Adobe/Pdf viewer on both devices. Would you be so kind and forward this information to your contacts at UIF?

    Thanks very much.

  • Good day Maya

    I’m soon to go on maternity leave and have to claim from Uif. The problem is that I will have to let go of my domestic worker as I won’t be able to afford her while on maternity leave. She has been working for me for 7 months. Will she be able to also claim from her Uif benefit?

  • Hello I am a foreigner been working in south africa for 10 years on a work permit. Our company closed doors and retrenched all of us in May. Can I claim for UIF? I have been contributing for the past 10years ..

  • I will be doing my first sign on the 10 May 2018, how long after i have signed will i get my first payment?

    • The system will send an sms to the client as soon as the claim is processed. Time frame is dependent on the completeness of the application and if the employment history is up to date or not. If the employment record is not up to date, then it takes longer to finalize the claim. If all is correct what is the expected time is within 30 working days.

  • I have submitted my claim, for maternity uif and earning more than R17 000 per month, and been working for more than than 48 months, however I only received R455 really I don’t believe this how am I going to survive with 455 after standing in the long queue.

    • Credits are accrued as follows: for every six days that you work as a contributor, you receive one day’s credit subject to a maximum of 238 days
      If you are having a problem with a claim you can contact the call centre but it helps to have the name of the official who has been assisting at the labour office as well as which labour office you have been dealing with in order to resolve the issue.

      Sharecall: 0860-345-464 or 012-3371680 option 3

    • UIF can be claimed for 8 months provided you have full credit days, in other words 238 credit days. Credits are accrued as follows: for every six days that you work as a contributor, you receive one day’s credit subject to a maximum of 238 days. In order to qualify for the full credit days you must have worked as a contributor for more than four years. The rates at which the benefits are payable is in accordance with the scale of benefits which ranges between 38-60% of your last remuneration as per contributor. Low income earners receive a higher percentage.

  • Hi Maya

    Is there any way of checking the status of your claim online?

    Submitted at the branch beginning of this month.


    • If you are having a problem with a claim you can contact the call centre but it helps to have the name of the official who has been assisting at the labour office as well as which labour office you have been dealing with in order to resolve the issue.

      Sharecall: 0860-345-464 or 012-3371680 option 3

  • Good day

    I have submitted my UIF cliam via Efiling. I can recommend it to all! Excellent service. However, I would just like to find out, how long do I have to wait before submitting again? My firts payment was made on the 18th of April. Must I wait until next month to submit again?

    Kind regard

    • Hi Maya

      Thank you, You are a God sent Messenger in disguise in this column. Believe me, I have been in a very challenging situations with the UIF Claiming. I salute the way you address these issues calmly and swiftly though the problems of the causes of these issues are not addressed here.

      My point is, would it be possible to dig down to able to root out those people at this dept. who are not prepared to do their duties correctly?

      Precisely, Whenever one goes to claim for UIF.. He/She will be treated as a nobody/ a useless person of the day,

      Please assist in this regard.


      • I will pass on your comments. I can imagine it is very frustrating but I don’t think it is always the department. If an employer has not sent through the correct info that can also cause delays

  • Should a person wish at the age of 55. to go on early pension. Is that person legible to claim from the UIF. The person does contribute to the UIF fund


  • I worked for the company for 7 years, a year ago they combined with another company and changed their name. My uif form thus states that I worked their for one year only in the new company.
    However I paid UIF for 7 years.

    Please advise. Thank you.

  • Hi Ma’am. Im from Welkom but I’m currently in Rusternburg looking for a job, I am a UIF beneficial and I used to claim for UIF in Welkomto. So what I need to know is that must I go back to Welkom offices if I want to claim or will I get assisted even here in Rusternburg?

  • How long does it take to process a claim.i submitted my forms in January but up to date i haven’t heard from the department

  • Why does it take so long after signing and being given a date that one gets paid we need our money and after signing in Athlone after 5 days still nohing shows. Is there any way this can be looked into.

  • Good day

    Kindly assist me. I have been without a job since November 2017. I have submitted all info needed at the UIF offices in Rustenburg in the beginning of January 2018. I have been up and down to get my claim to be paid out and up until now nothing. when I go to the UIF offices a get the worst treatment I have ever seen. since then the people there keeps on telling me to come back at another date. no specific reason. Can someone please kindly assist me with this as I really need some money to support my family.

    Will highly appreciate your help

    Great thanks in advance

  • Hi I was reading your article just now and I read that one of the improvements is that one can claim UIF benefits online. How does one do this? It is not evident from your article and also Google cannot put me on to this service when I search. Can you please help me with the correct web address where one can do an online claim.

    Thank you

  • I have been waiting for my uif money since December 2017 when i went on maternity leave 12 days ago i eventually signed for my money but up untill now no payment was made to me now no one know what the delay is i have outstanding car payments and rent i will be put out of my house and i will lose my car due to promising payment to then this week as they said pay out is within 10 working days i habe had no success with help how can the claim be approved and now there is a problem again after signing for the money i pay my uif on time why can’t i get my money on time i have a son thats already 6 month’s old and soon we Will be homeless due to this

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