Tag: TERS

Source: Business Insider SA

The Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) is still not paying out special coronavirus grants as it tries to verify the identity documents of those who applied over recent months.

The delay has resulted in new cut-off dates for applications for the so-called Temporary Employer/Employee Relief Scheme (TERS):

The final deadline for TERS applications for March to May 2020 is September 25.
TERS applications for June close on October 15.
TERS applications for July to September 15 close on October 30.
The UIF’s process to pay out the TERS grants has been marred with irregularities.

In a new report, the auditor-general outlined various problems it found with the TERS system, including that the UIF did not sufficiently corroborate information it received from applicants.

This resulted in fraudulent payments, which included:

  • Almost R696 million was paid to foreigners who have not made UIF contributions in the past 12 months
  • More than 50 children under the age of 15 received payments
  • More than R440 000 was paid out to the accounts of dead people
  • Almost R170 000 was paid to prisoners
  • More than R30-million was paid to people with invalid identity numbers
  • It also found that there was “double dipping” of more than R140 million – thousands of people who already get state grants, including students and disability grant recipients also received TERS payments.
  • The AG report resulted in the suspension of top UIF executives, including its commissioner Teboho Maruping.

The UIF took the TERS platform offline over the past weekend to implement changes to its systems, as recommended by the AG. The system was supposed to be restored by Monday, but by Tuesday it was still down.

“Currently payments are still on hold as the [UIF] is still working with the Department of Home Affairs and other government databases to verify about 5 million identity documents of Covid-19 TERS applications. This is done to ensure that payments are made to deserving and authentic workers,” said Marsha Bronkhorst, acting UIF Commissioner, in a statement.

“We are aware of the negative impact this delay has caused and is causing. But in the interests of mitigating the risks which have been identified both by our Risk Unit and the Auditor General, we unfortunately have to pause payments,” she added.

In total, the UIF has paid out almost R42-billion in 9.5-million payments to workers.

From July, claims will only cover employees whose employers are:

  • not permitted to commence operations under lockdown regulations
  • unable to make alternative arrangements for vulnerable workers (those above the age of 60 years, or with co-morbidities), such as working from home
  • unable to make use of their services because of the coronavirus restrictions, for example on how many employees can be in the workplace at the same time.

 

TERS payments suspended with immediate effect

Source: NEASA

The Department of Employment and Labour has suspended all TERS payments that are currently outstanding.

The Department has identified a number of anomalies in respect of past payments made to persons who are deceased, imprisoned or minor.

The Department will be comparing its database with that of the Department of Home Affairs in order to rectify this situation going forward.

It is unclear for how long payments will be suspended.

Cash-strapped employees struggled to apply for TERS benefits in July, amid a series of hiccups within the system.

Moneyweb previously reported that applications for May opened late, as well as June applications, which were closed shortly after due to security breaches. The system only came back online in the second weekend of July.

TERS benefits extended by 6 weeks

Source: IOL

The South African government has decided to extend the Covid-19 Temporary Employee Relief Scheme (TERS) benefits to 15 August 2020.

The benefit was initially meant to run until the end of June.

Last week, in an attempt to stop the fraud that has been taking place from the Unemployment Insurance Fund’s relief scheme, the fund has introduced new and more stringent controls to verify banking details.

According to the Department of Employment and Labour, because of the introduction of the new safety measures, the fund has had to delay payments.

The department said in a statement that over the weekend it had resumed payments and disbursed R372 million of Covid-19 TERS benefit claims.

“The payment covered claims for April and May lodged by 15 866 employers benefiting 78 283 employees for whose banking details passed the verification process. Further payments were done today (July 14) with about R295m paid out from 1 824 employers benefiting 76 078 workers. This brings the total paid to date since April 16 to just under R30 billion (R 29 726 359 618.48) covering 6 789 695 workers from 539 953 employers,” the department said.

The South African government has decided to extend the Covid-19 Temporary Employee Relief Scheme (TERS) benefits to 15 August 2020.

As part of the new control measures, the fund has also introduced 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 in order to further verify banking details against the authorised claimant.

By Jan Vermeulen for MyBroadband

The Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) has made changes to the website for its Temporary Employer-Employee Relief Scheme (TERS) after a security researcher reported a data leak.

This leak allowed anyone to obtain the UIF reference numbers of employers who had been paid out, and look up how much they had been paid.

UIF reference numbers were published as part of a list of paid employers on a website hosted under the Department of Employment and Labour’s domain.

This list of paid employers can still be downloaded in CSV format from the UIF website, but it no longer includes UIF reference numbers.

After MyBroadband and the security researcher reported the issue, the UIF reference numbers were removed from the downloadable list.

Armed with a list of UIF reference numbers, an attacker could go to the “My Payment Status” page and query the reference number.

While this page now features a Captcha, it did not have one a few weeks ago. The Captcha was only added after we raised the matter with the UIF.

Before the Captcha was implemented, it would have been simple for an attacker to write a script to extract the amounts paid and processing dates for each of the UIF reference numbers that were readily downloadable from the same website.

It is also still possible to look up the payment status and amount paid for anyone so long as you have their UIF reference number, or ID number.

The UIF does not require that you register an account or log in to look up this information.

Screenshots of the information returned by the My Payment Status page are included below.

MyBroadband contacted the Ministry of Labour for comment and was directed to speak directly to representatives of the UIF.

The UIF did not respond to a request for comment.

Although the South African government has put a number of relief measures in place to help those adversely affected by the Covid-19 lockdown, the structures seem to be overwhelmed or not functioning at all.

The week before last, it was reported that not one of the channels for the application to the Covid-19 Social Relief of Distress (SRD) grant of R350 was functional. More than 4,9-million people have applied for the new grant but on Friday 22 May SASSA’s CEO, Busisiwe Memela-Khambula, confirmed that just ten people had been paid.

The TERS UIF application process caused headaches for many business owners in April. However, applications for the month of May have still not been opened, and the following message is displayed on the website:

A business contacted My Office News with the information that they had received an e-mail stating that:

Companies that are no longer in full lockdown from 1 May cannot apply for this relief fund. This option is only available if your company is still in full lockdown with no operations taking place.

This means that, although many companies will need financial assistance due to a lost of customers or rule changes during Level 4, they will not be able to access it.

The Reserve Bank partnered with National Treasury and large private banks to launch a R200-billion loan guarantee scheme, which aimed to extend loans to businesses with an annual turnover of less than R300-million for operational expenses.

However, businesses have to apply within a number of metrics set forth by the bank in question, and many are finding that the other available relief funds such as SAFT do not cover the salaries of employers, only employees.

Follow us on social media: 

               

View our magazine archives: 

                       


My Office News Ⓒ 2017 - Designed by A Collective


SUBSCRIBE TO OUR NEWSLETTER
Top