UIF boosts payment controls to eliminate fraud
The Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) has introduced new and more stringent controls to verify banking details of applicants of the COVID-19 Temporary Employee Relief Scheme (TERS).
This move, says the fund, is to ensure the COVID-19 TERS online portal does not fall prey to criminal elements, following fake claims amounting to millions of rands in recent weeks.
The UIF is a public entity of the Department of Employment and Labour, whose mandate is to provide short-term relief to workers who qualify for benefits.
Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, workers who have not been registered with the UIF can now also get special payouts from the COVID-19 TERS.
Among the new control measures is a new rule to the system that requires applicants to insert either the enterprise number (CK/CIPC) or the ID number of the bank account holder in the TERS online portal.
The UIF states this has been introduced to further verify banking details against the authorised claimant.
“This requirement, which may seem onerous, is critical to ensure banking details are verified before any TERS payment is authorised. Failure to populate the system properly will unfortunately lead to more delays in the payment process,” warns UIF commissioner Teboho Maruping.
According to the commissioner, the fund has been at the receiving end of fraud complaints after it emerged that certain individuals managed to change banking details of their companies and inserted their own.
“This situation has created a need for us to do an upfront account verification and validation before the payment is made, and we expect this to increase our turnaround time by two days as the accounts are verified and validated to ensure fraud at company level is eliminated and reduced as far as possible.
“We cannot overemphasise how important it is for companies to provide correct information that can be validated and verified with the banks so that there are no delays with the payment,” notes Maruping.
The UIF has, to date, paid just under R30 billion via the COVID-19 TERS, covering 6 789 695 workers from 539 953 employers.