Who can register and claim for UIF unemployment benefits?

You can claim UIF benefits if you have been retrenched involuntarily.

You cannot claim UIF benefits if you have resigned or if you have been retrenched voluntarily from your job.

(Maternity and Adoption UIF claims will be covered in separate articles. If you have any comments pertaining to Maternity or Adoption UIF claims, please scroll down and leave a reply.)

Where do you go to register and claim for UIF benefits?

Go to your nearest  Labour Centre. In the Durban, KZN area you can register and claim at the following Labour Centres:

Prospecton – 1 Prospecton Place, Prospecton, Isipingo, 4133
Office hours:  7:30 to 16:00, Monday to Friday.
Tel: (031) 913 9700
Google Maps: https://goo.gl/maps/bZDXVz5a5mm

Chatsworth – 339 Chatsdene Street, Chatsworth
Office hours:  7:30 to 16:00, Monday to Friday.
Tel: (031) 403 3316 / (031) 401 9424  / (031) 401 9453
Google Maps: https://goo.gl/maps/yMVon143CaF2

Pinetown – 49 Kings Road, Pinetown
Office hours:  7:30 to 16:00, Monday to Friday.
Tel: (031) 701 7740
Google Maps: https://goo.gl/maps/JDCswgGfBS12

Phoenix – 432 Longberry Avenue, Longcroft
Office hours:  7:30 to 16:00, Monday to Friday.
Tel: (031) 500 4704
Google Maps: https://goo.gl/maps/LxYwgZj5BLG2

Verulam – 13 Wick Street, Verulam Central, Verulam
Office hours:  7:30 to 16:00, Monday to Friday.
Tel: (032) 541 5600
Google Maps: https://goo.gl/maps/jd7QFZpiZj52

Please note:

267 Anton Lembede/Smith Street, Durban City centre, no longer renders UIF services. Do not go there, you will be turned away.

What do you require to Register for UIF?

Before going to your nearest Labour Centre to register, you will need to compile the following documentation, no exceptions:

  • ID document (or passport, but not driver’s licence)
  • Form UI-19. You will receive this from your employer/ ex-employer. This document states important information, such as the date of your retrenchment and your income tax number. Make sure it has been signed by your employer/ex-employer. Upon retrenchment, speak to your boss or HR department immediately about getting this document from them, so that there’s no delay with getting the ball rolling with your UIF claim.
  • Form UI-2.8. This form serves as a confirmation of your banking details and needs to be completed and stamped by your bank. You can download a copy for printing here.
  • Form RS 001/04/15 to register as a work-seeker. This form serves as a mini-cv and is probably the most detailed of all the forms. Give yourself time to fill this one out properly. You can download a copy here.

I will also recommend taking the following with you:

  • A pen. You may just forget to fill something in on one of your forms, or the officials may require more information from you. Be prepared and take your own pen, preferably one in black ink.
  • Sunglasses and a hat. Some of your time in the queue may be outside in an area that is not 100% undercover.

How long will your UIF registration and claim take to process until you receive payment?

Approximately 6 – 8 weeks from registration until your first payment. This time frame can be broken down into the following 3 stages:

  • Registration. This first step takes about 4.5 hours, of which the bulk is spent waiting in the queue. This may go quicker or slower, depending on whether the system goes offline or not. Once you get to the counter the official will capture your information quite quickly, especially if your previous employer/s has/have been on the ball with registering you for UIF with SARS. Upon registration, the UIF claim officer will give you a date to return for Signing Confirmation (approximately 6 weeks from your day of registration), as well documentation that you will need to bring with you: U16A form –  Declaration to Confirm Unemployment Status, with a Contributor’s Check Card stapled to the form. Keep these safe and bring these with you on signing day.
  • Signing Confirmation. This second step is scheduled to take place approximately 5 to 6 weeks after your initial Registration day and takes about 4.5 hours on the day, of which the bulk is spent waiting in the queue. This may go quicker or slower, depending on whether the system goes offline or not. Remember to bring the forms that the UIF claim officer gave you on the registration day with you (U16A and Contributor’s Check Card). If for some reason you still have any of the other forms from Registration day, bring those with you too.
  • Claim Payment. You will receive payment into your bank account within approximately two days from signing day.

For how long can you claim UIF unemployment benefits?

  • 6 (six) months

How much UIF pay can you be expected to receive per month?

Approximately 50 – 60% of your gross salary. This may taper down towards to later months of your UIF benefit time. The claim officer will calculate the amount on the day of registration.

Is going in to register and claiming for UIF as difficult and unpleasant as everyone says it is?

No. I wish I had ignored the reactions of those who were horrified at the thought of having to register for UIF. It only discouraged me from doing it earlier, which I subsequently regretted.

Yes, there are a lot of other people and you’re in for at least half a day of your time per visit. Get there early. Most labour centres open at 7:30 am. I would recommend being there an hour earlier. I’ve been there on Mondays and Fridays and Friday seemed less busy. The systems seem to go offline on a daily basis, it won’t just be your bad luck if it happens on the day that you go there. Consider it part of the process and don’t be discouraged by it. As you get towards the front of the queue, there should be benches to ease the last bit of the wait. You will be expected to sit snugly next to each other. It’s ok. You’ll be so happy about your turn coming up soon that you won’t care.

Yes, the labour centre is a neglected and littered government building. You haven’t paid to fly business class overseas with an award-winning airline, you’re there to receive money because you’re unemployed. It sucks when you first get there, but if you tell yourself to accept the situation, it will be a better experience for you.   

Last words of advice for a smooth and swift UIF claim process:

Be humble. Be patient. Be kind.

If, like me,  you are the type of person that tends to complain about bad service, leave that persona at home. You will achieve nothing by acting annoyed or superior. Bite your lip and cooperate. Be polite and respectful to the claim officers and security staff. In my experience, they were quite efficient, despite the questionable systems and cramped work environment.

Try not to shut yourself off from the conversation with those around you in the queue. You may make a difference in someone’s day, or they may make a difference in yours.

Good luck!