Do I qualify for UIF compensation?
Income support is a monthly payment made by the government to a person who has made UIF contributions throughout her working life and qualifies according to government regulations for UIF payments.
The UIF is set up to compensate individuals who are no longer earning an income due to retrenchment, this includes all professionals working for a licensed company. UIF payments are usually deducted by your company before you are paid, and therefore are deducted from your salary.
The amounts payable to the UIF are in proportion to your salary, but only make up a fraction of what you are paid.
Who can claim?
Any professionally employed person who has been formally retrenched or made redundant can apply for compensation from the UIF, providing your company is compliant with all labour laws. If you are registered with SARS, then you should be registered for UIF already, however it may be necessary to double check your status. Essentially the UIF is money that you have 'saved' for times of need, and the ideal would be that if everyone paid a little bit each month, no one would have to lose income in the event of retrenchment.
How to claim for Income support?
If you have been retrenched, you do not need to consult with legal experts when applying for UIF compensation. Provided the terms of your retrenchment were lawful, you are not required to be represented in court or seek legal advice. The claim can be undertaken by any unemployed individual who has previously contributed to the fund, provided that the time lapsed between the claim and retrenchment is deemed reasonable.
So for example, if you contributed to the UIF for five years, and then failed to claim from the fund for 25 years, your claim may be rejected.
When launching a claim with the UIF the best course of action is to contact the fund directly. All the information and paperwork is available in digital and physical form.
The claiming process
If you have been formally retrenched, and your company is in compliance with labour laws and regulations, you may eligible for monetary compensation from the UIF. When a company formally retrenches you, the law requires that they provide you with a retrenchment package. In the event that you leave your position voluntarily, or by means of disciplinary measures, you may not be eligible for UIF. However, the terms of your leaving could be contested if you feel that you have not been treated fairly.
It will require further processes, but you may still be able to claim from the UIF if you can prove you had been unfairly removed from your position and are no longer able to find employment. The UIF will pay you a monthly amount for maintenance, however, it is usually not enough to live off.
Upon leaving your position, your company should provide you with official documents detailing your retrenchment and disclosing your previous income. The UIF will require that you submit these documents when claiming. It is also necessary to provide proof of person, address and banking statements. The money paid out can then be deposited into your bank account, or collected in person.
What happens when you do get a job?
When you gain employment again, you will be removed from the UIF's payout scheme. You will then be required to pay the usual monthly fee during your new employment. In the unfortunate event that you are retrenched again, you are then able to apply to the UIF for compensation again. Provided you have paid UIF duties throughout your working career, you should be successful in your claim and be compensated in the event of redundancy.
There is no limit to how many times you can claim from the UIF, however, in the event of suspicious and repetitive claims, the UIF will investigate and prosecute fraudulent claimants.
The low down
Income support – UIF – is something no-one ever really wants to claim. But, thankfully, it exists to help those who have contributed to the fund throughout their working lives. The payouts could be better, the process leaves much to be desired, but the UIF is a fund you are entitled to access.