The Unemployment Insurance Fund’s Covid-19 Temporary Employee Relief Scheme (TERS) has introduced new security measures to ensure that funds do not fall prey to criminals.
The fund will now require applicants to insert either the enterprise number (CK/CIPC) or the ID number of the bank account holder in the TERS online portal, to further verify banking details against the authorized claimant.
“This requirement which may seem onerous is critical to ensure banking details are verified before any TERS payment is authorized. Failure to populate the system properly will, unfortunately, lead to more delays in the payment process,” said UIF commissioner Teboho Maruping.
The commissioner added that the fund has received numerous fraud complaints after it emerged that individuals managed to change banking details of their companies.
“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 that fraud at company level is eliminated and reduced as far as possible.
“We cannot overemphasize 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,” said Maruping.
As a result of the introduction of the new safety and security changes, the fund said it had to delay payments. However, over the weekend, it 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 benefitting 78,283 employees for whose banking details passed the verification process.
The fund said it has now paid over R1 billion directly into the bank accounts of 238,086 employees since April 2020, and direct payments to employees have not been affected by the new measures.