UIF Ters payments to resume from Monday

Unemployed people queue for UIF payments. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES

Payments from the government’s relief scheme for workers is expected to resume on Monday, after being suspended for two weeks.

The payments of the Temporary Employer/Employee Relief Scheme (Ters) was suspended on September 7, after the release of the auditor-general’s report, which uncovered alleged fraud and irregularities in the system.

The Unemployment Insurance Fund, which funds the scheme, said it would only pay out “competent claims”. Incomplete claims or claims where there is information that is still outstanding from employers will not be automatically processed.

The fund said it has scheduled multiple payment runs for the rest of next week to fast track payments to beneficiaries.

“We plan a payment run for all outstanding payments for April, May and June 2020 on Monday and Tuesday,” acting UIF commissioner Marsha Bronkhorst said.

“After that, we will plan to run payments for the July 1 to August 15 period from Wednesday 23 to Saturday September 26.”

The payment of benefits under Ters was put in place to help workers affected by the national lockdown. It formed part of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s R500bn economic and social relief package.

However, Ters has been hit by problems, including backlogs and unauthorised payments, which left workers unable to access assistance after companies cut jobs or imposed pay reductions.

The UIF on Saturday said to further stress-test and mitigate the risks to its systems and process, the fund immediately initiated discussions with government departments such as the department of home affairs, SA Social Security Agency, and the department of correctional services among others.

This was done to assist it to synchronise its data to ensure that Covid-19 Ters benefits payments were made to the right and authentic beneficiaries.

Auditor-general Kimi Makwetu found overpayments of more than R84m to 1,183 applicants, underpayments of R251m to 1,700 applicants, along with the invalid rejection of beneficiaries, fraud and double-dipping. Other problems included payments to people below the legal age of employment, and those who were deceased or working for government.

BusinessLIVE

BY GENEVIEVE QUINTAL

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