Updated 28.04.2022

How to Apply for UIF Unemployment Benefits

Life has become very expensive, and people tend to work harder than they would otherwise do to sustain their lifestyles and enjoy a comfortable life. Losing one’s job in an already tough environment is thus very distressing and can break you down. In addition, not knowing your next source of income or where you will get the next amount of money needed to sort your basic needs can be a major source of stress. Fortunately, you can always look back to unemployment benefits as a temporary solution until you can afford to fund your lifestyle when you get another job.

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South African employees can turn to the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) as a temporary solution for their sudden loss of income. All you have to do is ensure that you are qualified for the benefits and apply as soon as you feel the need to. Below are simple steps to follow when applying for this fund.

Applying for the Unemployment Insurance Fund

You first need to travel to the nearest labor center close to you. Next, it is important to sign the new unemployment register. You will then be asked to return to sign the same register a second time. For people who may take longer to become employed again, it is a requirement to go back to sign this register every four weeks. You will receive a white card every time you sign the register.

If all goes well and all your details are correct, you should expect to start receiving money at least eight weeks after the application. Make sure that you carry your ID and name every time you go. Every time you receive the cash, you will get a note with detailed information regarding the amount received and what you expect.

If you cannot visit the labor offices, you can also apply for the money online. To do this:

  • Log into your uFiling Account
  • Accept the laid terms and conditions
  • Confirm all your banking details
  • Complete and remember to verify all your details
  • Enter your occupation and qualification
  • Confirm that you are a work-seeker

What Qualifies you for this Payment

Note that you need to have some credits to enjoy this payment. The UIF credit system translates to getting a one-day credit for every four days worked. You will not get the UIF funds when you have zero credits.

Reasons Why Unemployment Insurance Fund is Given

This is a government-driven fund that targets people in different situations. Besides assisting people who are not in employment due to being laid off or retrenched, it also helps women in maternity. If you are an employed female contributor to the fund, you are free to apply for the maternity fund. However, this applies only if you receive less than your normal wages when you are on maternity leave. Some employers tend to reduce the cash they pay their female employees on maternity leave. Fortunately, you do not have to over-squeeze your expenses during this period. Instead, consider applying for the fund, as it helps.

How to Claim the maternity UIF Funds

Like all other claims offered by the fund, maternity claims also follow a specific procedure. First, it is mandatory to apply for the fund or have someone do it on their behalf as long as they come with all the relevant documents. This follows the steps below:

Get all the documents ready

The Maternity UIF fund application requires that you have the following documents:

  • 13-digit bar-coded ID or passport;
  • Form UI-2.8 for banking details;
  • Form UI-2.7;
  • Form UI-2.3 (application form)
  • Medical certificate from a doctor or birth certificate of the baby; and
  • Form UI-4 (follow-up form).

Visit the labor center or organize someone to do so on their behalf

It is mandatory to have a representation at the labor center when applying for the maternity fund. The officers at the labor office will help with the document processing. It is advisable to go on your own unless you are too ill, in which case you can have someone do this for you.

Stick to the Official Instructions

The labor staff members may ask you to do a few things when trying to claim your fund benefits. If possible, avoid arguing and follow their instructions to the latter. You may be asked to visit the labor offices or your doctor a few more times. Oblige to such requests, and your funds will be processed faster than you would want.

UIF Adoption Benefits

Besides unemployment and maternity benefits, the UIF also caters to adoption needs. This applies to people who have been contributing to the fund and have adopted children below two years. They are entitled to this fund only if they have taken a leave from work and are forced to care for the adopted child because they have no other alternative. It also works if their pay is less than their ordinary wages. To claim these funds, proceed as follows:

Apply for the funds in person by visiting the nearest labor center first

To be considered legal, you need to bring certain documents to the labor offices. These include:

  • 13-digit bar-coded ID or passport;
  • Form UI-2.8 for banking details;
  • Form UI-2.7;
  • Form UI-2.4 (application form)
  • Certified copy of the adopted baby’s birth certificate; and
  • Certified copy of the adoption order.

Go to the Center

Once you have gathered all the documents and are ready to proceed, visit the labor offices and hand them in person. This is important since the officials at the labor offices will give you the necessary instructions to proceed.

Stick to the Official’s Instructions on How to Proceed

Once the funds’ claim has been processed, you will be given specific directions that you ought to follow to benefit from the funds. Failure to do as asked could result in not getting the adoption funds. Therefore, if you want to avoid being disappointed, you need to follow instructions to the last word. Your goal is to get the funds as quickly as possible and help you raise the child with less stress.

UIF Illness Benefits

The UIF is a great backup plan for employees because it caters to several emergencies. If you are a contributor to this fund, you can also get an illness fund. This is a claim you make if you cannot work because of a specific illness. Your company may give you sick leave. This can either be paid, partially paid or unpaid. The fund claims are made only if the pay you receive when sick is less than your normal wages. Employees who have been making contributions to this fund should apply for the illness fund if they feel a need to get the support during their recovery period. You need to carry relevant documents when applying for the fund, just as you do with all other UIF claims. To get this fund, proceed as follows:

Gather Relevant Documents

You must provide specific documents to the officials at the labor office when you go. These are:

  • 13-digit bar-coded ID or passport;
  • Form UI-2.8 for banking details;
  • Form UI-19 to show that they are not working;
  • Form UI-2.7;
  • Medical certificate from a doctor;
  • Amplifying medical reports; and
  • A follow-up form.

Go to the Labor Office Closest to You

Once you have all the documents needed for the application ready, your next move should be to find the closest labor office near you. It is best to go to these offices or have a trusted person do so on your behalf. Again, the goal is to submit the documents and get further instructions from the labor officials.

Follow All Official Instructions

If you want to expedite the process of the funds being released, then follow the labor officials.

Follow instructions. They may ask you to come back at a specific time, which you should lest you risk losing the payout.

UIF Dependents Benefits

Your dependents can benefit from your UIF funds if you are a contributing member. The payment can be given to your spouse, children, guardian, or life partner. However, the claim should be made within the first six months of the contributor’s death to remain valid. Children below the age of 21 are entitled to the claim only if there are no surviving partners or spouses. The same procedure of applying for the claim plays out here. You have to get your documents in order, visit the labor office and follow instructions given by the labor officials.

Final Thoughts

UIF funds are instrumental in offering relief for employees in many situations. It can also be beneficial to dependents in case of their demise. However, one has to be a contributing member before being entitled to these funds. What matters is knowing how to apply and following the steps to the last point. Make sure you are a contributing member of the UIF if you are a South African employee. Some employers pay for their workers, but you have to confirm and make sure it is official and consistent because you never know when you will need to apply for these funds.


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Job is a seasoned writer with a good understanding of the emerging markets, Africa to be specific.