COVID-19 ters payments

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UIF/Ters: FAQs answered as payment struggles continue

With the UIF/Ters process of distributing COVID-10 relief funding having been plagued with issues, this may provide some clarity.

COVID-19 ters payments

Image via Adobe Stock

Success when applying for COVID-19 relief from the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) has been difficult to come by since the Temporary Employee Relief Scheme (Ters) was initiated back in March. 

The system has been plagued with issues ranging from tech issues to full on suspension relating to corruption allegations, but now a list of frequently asked questions has been answered that might help employers and employees navigate the murky waters with improved ease. 

UIF/Ters eligibility and process

Who is eligible to receive Tens support? 

The scheme was created to assist employees who have lost income due to COVID-19, and the regulations limiting economic active during the various levels of lockdown. 

In order to be considered for the financial aid, one must prove that their normal monthly remuneration has been reduced or that no monthly income was received because they: 

  1. Have not been able to work at all;
  2. Have worked part-time or reduced hours; 
  3. They have suffered a temporary salary reduction related to the operational requirements of the employer. 

Who must apply? 

Employers need to apply for the Ters on behalf of their employees via the Ters online portal. 

Eligibility needs to be verified in terms of checks that:

  • no other UIF claim has been made for the same period by the individual;
  • ID does not match existing records within the SASSA, DPSA, Prisoners databases;
  • Employment confirmation has been received;
  • Leave income does not match monthly income;
  • One’s ID is verified by Home Affairs. 

Ters payments cannot be made to existing beneficiaries

In addition to these criteria, they also highlighted other frequently asked questions relating to the claims process, including maternity/illness benefits. 

They said that individuals cannot receive more than one benefit from the UIF at one time, so those who are already the beneficiaries of maternity or illness benefits cannot be considered eligible. 

They said that the time spent working for a company does not factor into the verification process, adding that Ters benefits are delinked from UIF credits. “This means that all employees who are eligible will be paid their COVID-19 Ters benefit, which will have no impact on their credits,” they said. 

If an employee was required to take leave during lockdown, they are still permitted claim back leave from the Ters system, they said. 

“The Directive allows an employer to claim on behalf of employees who were required to take leave during lockdown. When the benefit is paid, the employer is responsible for calculating the equivalent leave days and reinstating these to employees,” they said. 

The employer will then keep the amount paid through Ters for transfer into the leave position, which will pay for these leave days when taken in the future. 

Lockdown levels must be considered  

The UIF also  also said that an employee cannot automatically assume that they are eligible for payment if they were restricted from working at any stage of the lockdown, saying that they are only entitled to C19 TERS benefits for the periods in which they suffered an income loss. 

“Depending on the industry you work in, and how the regulations affected operational requirements/ your work, you may not have qualified to receive C19 Ters benefits for all these periods. For example, if you resumed full-time work on 1 August 2020, your employer will only have applied for benefits on your behalf for the period 1 – 31 July 2020,” they said.

The UIF considers the dates of lockdown entered during application and what income loss was suffered during this period to determine how much C19 TERS benefits are to be paid out.