Last round of COVID-19 TERS claims to be processed

The Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) will open and begin processing the latest and last round of COVID-19 Temporary Employer-Employee Relief Scheme Benefits (COVID-19 TERS) applications on 23 November 2020 and close on 31 December 2020, the UIF announced on Tuesday.

This follows last week’s announcement by President Cyril Ramaphosa that the COVID-19 TERS benefits would be extended by another month.

The extension has been subject to robust discussions with social partners at the National Economic Development and Labour Council (NEDLAC).

Acting UIF Commissioner Marsha Bronkhorst said the receipt of COVID-19 TERS applications for 16 September 2020 to 15 October 2020 will close on 31 December, and “no further applications shall be accepted beyond that date”.

This period covers the following categories of employees whose employers are:

  • Not permitted to commence operations under the Disaster Management Regulations;
  • Unable to make alternative arrangements for vulnerable workers, such as working from home or taking special measures under the OHS Direction to protect them; and
  • Unable to make use of their services because of operational requirements caused by compliance with the Regulations and Directions such as rostering, staggering working hours, short time and introduction of shift systems.

The application process remains the same for the extension period and all claims must be lodged via the online portal

“As with previous claim processes, to apply in the new period, employers are required to upload similar documentation that include signed approval or acceptance letter, bank confirmation letter, proof of payment to employees and refund to the UIF – if applicable,” Bronkhorst said.

In keeping with strict governance principles, Bronkhorst said UIF will still subject payments to bank verification before releasing the funds into the applicant’s accounts.

“The immediate past has taught us that even under the pandemic, criminals are at large and looking to benefit through their nefarious means. We have an obligation to do everything in our power to ensure that funds are not paid into the incorrect accounts,” Bronkhorst said.

The COVID-19 TERS Relief Scheme was established to assist employees who lost income due to the Coronavirus and the regulations limiting economic activity during the various levels of the lockdown.

Since March 2020, just over R52 billion has been disbursed in 11.5 million payments through over one million employers.

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