Thousands of dead people ‘claimed’ for the UIF's coronavirus payouts

Business Insider SA
  • So far, the UIF has picked up that more than 4,000 claims for Covid-19 have been submitted on behalf of dead South Africans. 
  • The fund also found that 100,000 fake ID numbers were used in claims.
  • Amid criticism of its Covid-19 payouts, the UIF says that these fraud attempts show that it had to be cautious in paying out the money.  
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Amid criticism about its handling of Covid-19 payouts, the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) has hit back with thousands of examples of fraud that it says proves why it had to be cautious in its approach.

Workers who are put on leave, have been laid off temporarily, or whose employers can’t afford to pay their full salaries due to the coronavirus crisis were entitled to Covid-19 Temporary Employer/Employee Relief Scheme (TERS) payouts in April, May and June.

So far, the UIF has picked up that more than 4,000 claims – at least – were lodged on behalf of dead workers.

And in April and May, almost 100,000 fake ID numbers were used to apply for the payouts.

“We have been assailed in certain quarters – sometimes deservedly so –  for not paying on time but in reality, we have had to ensure that the system is not taken advantage of,” said UIF Commissioner Teboho Maruping in a statement. “We understand the frustration that some people may have experienced but given all the permutations, it has been absolutely imperative that we ensure that we disburse the funds to deserving people.

While Ters payments were not meant for those already receiving UIF benefits (including unemployment or maternity claims), almost 35,000 of these beneficiaries also applied for the Covid-19 payouts.

“We could not and still cannot pay in the cases of double dipping and we made this very clear at the beginning,” Maruping said.

The UIF has faced huge criticism from business organisations, with many companies complaining to Business Insider SA about the process. These range from applications not being processed or paid, to some applications being denied without explanation and a general failure to get a response from the UIF.

READ | UIF coronavirus payouts: Companies in revolt with 725,000 workers left unpaid

For its part, the UIF blamed companies for not submitting the right information about employees.

In total, the UIF paid out R31 billion in 6 900 391 payments.

While applications for April and May are now closed, employers can still apply for June. The TERS scheme will not continue beyond June.

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