Claim Unemployment Benefits in South Africa

What are your Benefits if you are Unemployed or Ill? Find out about the national Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF), Unemployment Benefits, Illness Benefits, Maternity Benefits, Adoption Benefits and more on Mywage.co.za

Unemployment Benefits

The national Unemployment Insurance Fund assists not only those who lose their jobs, but also those who stop receiving a salary for a period of time as a result of pregnancy, illness or taking care of an adopted child under the age of two. Also family members left behind upon the death of the breadwinner in the family are assisted by the Fund. Essentially, the five types of benefits that are provided include:

1. Unemployment Benefits
If you lose your job, because of dismissal, contract termination by your employer or his insolvency and have not found another within 14 days, you may apply within six months of becoming unemployed. You can claim benefits for up to 34 weeks (238 days). When applying you must identify yourself, bring the last six pay slips, a formal statement of your former employer, proof that you registered as a job seeker with the Department of Labour, state that you are capable and willing to work and fill in the application booklet.

2. lllness Benefits
If you are ill you can claim if you are unable to work for more than 14 days and not receiving a salary or receiving only a part of your salary from your employer. You must be willing to undergo medical treatment. When applying you must identify yourself, bring the last six pay slips, a formal statement of your employer and your pay in the period you are on sick leave, proof of banking details and fill in the application booklet.

3. Maternity Benefits
When you are due to have a baby you are entitled to 17 weeks (121 days) maternity benefits.  If you have had a miscarriage you can claim for six weeks (42 days). When applying you must identify yourself, bring your last six pay slips, a formal statement of your employer and your pay in the period you are on maternity leave, proof of banking details, a completed medical certificate and fill in the application booklet.

4. Adoption Benefits
Can be applied for when you adopt a child under the age of two years and take unpaid leave or receiving only a portion of your salary while you are at home caring for the child. Only one parent may claim. Benefits are only payable if the child is adopted in terms of the Child Care Act and the period that the contributor was not working was spent caring for the child. When applying you must identify yourself, bring the last six pay slips, a formal statement of your employer and your pay in the period you are on leave, proof of banking details, the order of adoption, a copy of the child’s birth certificate and fill in the application booklet.

5. Dependent's Benefits
Can be applied for if the person who has been financially supporting the household dies. The spouse of the deceased can claim the benefit even if he or she is in employment. The application must be made within six months of the date of the death of the deceased contributor. When applying the spouse of the deceased should identity him/herself and show the id of the deceased partner, the last six pay slips of the breadwinner, a formal statement by the former employer, a certified copy of the marriage certificate, a completed medical certificate, proof of banking details and fill in the application booklet. If the surviving spouse does not make an application within six months, a dependent child under the age of 21 years and includes any person under the age of 25 years who is a learner and who was wholly or mainly dependent on the deceased, can apply for the benefits. The application must be made within 14 days after the 6 month period has expired, during which the spouse should have applied. In addition they should show proof of guardianship and of learner status.

Quit Your Job and Lose Your Right!
All employees are contributors to the UIF. Each month the employer deducts 1 percent of workers' pay as their contribution prescribed by law. Some contributors are however excluded from a benefit, more in particular if the contributor:
· Resigns from employment
· Fails to report at the times and dates stipulated by the claims officer
· Refuses without just reason to undergo training and vocational counselling for employment
· Is receiving a monthly pension from the state
· Is receiving payment from the Compensation Fund for illness or injuries that caused the temporary or total unemployment of the contributor  
· Is receiving benefits from any other scheme established by the Labour Relations Act  
· Fails to comply with the provisions of the Act  
· Has been caught working and collecting benefits or committed fraud, in which case the Unemployment Insurance Commissioner may deny a contributor access to the fund for a period of up to five years.

Build Up Credit
Credits are given to you 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. To build up the maximum credits you have to work for four years. If you have worked for less than 238 days you can claim for the number of days’ credits you have built up. As from April 2002 benefits are calculated on a sliding scale dependent on your salary. 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.

Applicants Should Remember: 
• To keep your 13-digit RSA-bar coded Identity Document (ID)/ passport safe
• To inform the claims officer if you resumed work while receiving UIF benefits at the same time
• That it is illegal to work and draw benefits at the same time
• To report at times and dates stipulated by the claims officer when advised to do so
• Not to make a false statement
• Not to wait until it is too late to apply for benefits
• Not to expect to receive any UIF benefits when you resign from employment
• Not to submit fraudulent applications for benefits
• Not to refuse without reason to undergo training and vocational counseling for employment
• Not to stay away and ignore the instructions of the claims offer.

Employers Must Ensure:
That their UIF reference number is completed on the deposit slip when payment is made. UIF-payment for domestic workers only: FNB 62052400547 25-31-45

For all other information you may need, look at www.labour.gov.za

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