The Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) has appealed to employers to resolve errors on the COVID-19 TERS portal to enable it to finalise outstanding claims.
The UIF said it has done all it needed to and the onus is now on the claimants if they qualify.
In a statement on Wednesday, the UIF said the claims cannot be finalised until certain corrections are effected, which can only be done by the applicants as they currently appear as outstanding COVID-19 TERS payments.
Since the inception of the relief scheme in March 2020, the UIF has successfully made multiple payments totalling R63 billion in 14 292 888 payments to employees from 786 972 applications received from employers.
Acting UIF Commissioner, Advocate Mzie Yawa, said the fund aims to rapidly decrease the number of outstanding claims and ultimately close them by the end of December 2021, as they cannot remain open indefinitely.
Yawa said the COVID-19 TERS portal provides self-explanatory error messages, where a claim has been unsuccessful. It further gives advice to the applicant on action they need to take to resolve an error.
"We have observed that most COVID-19 TERS payments are unsuccessful due to employers or their representatives failing to follow the application procedures correctly. The application platform provides error messages and guides employers on what they need to do to correct mistakes," Yawa said.
The acting commissioner said partners at NEDLAC, labour and business have been requested to encourage their constituencies to attend to and correct these errors on the COVID-19 TERS portal.
"We appreciate efforts by among others SACTWU and NUMSA, who heeded our plea to talk to their employers, which has helped to have most of their issues resolved. We urge all unions and employers, whose members/workers have not been paid, to correct the errors or causes of non-payment, as they appear on our portal, and resubmit corrected applications so payments can be finalised. Failure to do this within a month from now, may result in the application considered closed," Yawa said.
The UIF said the quantum of outstanding payments is a major concern for both NEDLAC partners and UIF.
As a result, a project team has been formed to find solutions for the most common errors relating to specific UIF process of compliance or audit/risk issue.
The most common errors that the team will be focusing on fall within the following broad categories: Declarations, Incorrect banking details, Incorrect income, invalid Identity and Passport numbers.
The project will involve reaching out to employers through various communication mechanisms, improved customer interface on COVID-19 TERS portal, and vigorous compliance drive.
With regards to Workers Affected By Unrest (WABU) relief scheme, the UIF said, like other bodies in same space, they are still verifying the applications.
To date, 255 applications have been received since the opening for applications towards the end of August 2021. Payments are set to be made as soon as these pass the verification process.
"We believe everyone should appreciate that efforts must be taken to curb the TERS fraud we encountered. It is, therefore, necessary for us to take extra precaution when we process claims for WABU to prevent fraudulent such from recurring", Yawa said.