Answer to a question from a reader

Is it true that I can't receive UIF while receiving a permanent disability salary?

The short answer

Yes, unfortunately this is true.

The whole question

I was medically boarded by my company. Now, I'm getting a permanent disability salary, which is 75% of what my normal salary was. My previous employer is saying that because I earn a disability salary, I cannot claim UIF. Is this true?

The long answer

Yes, I’m afraid that is correct: you can only claim illness benefits from UIF during the first six months of being unemployed due to ill health. You are entitled to claim UIF benefits if you are receiving less than your normal salary while you are on sick leave.

The UIF benefit is between 38 – 58% of your salary, up to a maximum of R12 478. So, if your salary is R12 478 or more, you will get about R4 676 per month. That is the maximum amount you can receive from UIF.

Your disability claim is assessed by the Compensation Commissioner in terms of the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act of 1993 (COIDA). COIDA is a government insurance scheme that pays out benefits if you are injured at work or become ill due to your work. 

The employer pays you for the first three months after your accident / illness, but will get these payments back from the Compensation Fund. The employer must pay contributions for workers every month to the Compensation Fund. These contributions are not deducted from workers’ salaries.

The Compensation Commissioner decides what compensation is payable in terms of the percentage of disability. Permanent disability is from 31 – 100% and is paid out as a monthly pension of 75% of your salary for the rest of your life by the Compensation Fund. 

If the employer has a private insurance company, the pension will be paid out by this company, but the claim will still be decided by the Compensation Commissioner. The pension is always backdated to the date of injury.

Answered on Oct. 15, 2020, 11:30 a.m.

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