Answer to a question from a reader

Can my UIF death benefits application be denied if I don't have an unabridged marriage certificate?

The short answer

The UIF website does not specify what type of marriage certificate is needed, so it seems unlikely.

The whole question

Dear Athalie

I submitted an application to claim my UIF death benefits after my husband passed away in July, but my application was denied because I do not have an unabridged marriage certificate. I've been using the original one for 22 years and have never encountered any problems with it – even when my husband was claiming his unemployment benefits. Can the UIF refuse to pay the money or do I have to apply for an unabridged certificate (that I'll have to wait at least six months for)?

The long answer

I don’t think they can refuse your application on those grounds. It would seem utterly unjust. On all the websites giving information on what documents are needed to apply for UIF death benefits, even the UIF’s own website, there is no mention of unabridged marriage certificates. They say only that you must submit a certified copy of your marriage certificate. The documents that you have to submit are the following:

  • your identity document;

  • copies of the deceased's last six payslips;

  • the employer's details on form UI19;

  • a certified copy of the death certificate;

  • a certified copy of your marriage certificate;

  • a service certificate from the employer;

  • proof of your banking details.

The UIF gives a number you can call if you have had a major problem when claiming UIF. They say: 

  1. SMS us on 35697 using the keyword UIF and tell us about your experience. Please include your name and province. SMSes cost R1.50

  2. It helps to have the name of the official who has been assisting you at the labour office as well as which labour office you have been dealing with in order to resolve the issue. 

  3. You can also call 0860 345 464 or 012 337 1680 and select option three.

If you phone them, be sure to tell them that you had been married for 22 years, and that your late husband had used your abridged marriage certificate himself without any problems when he claimed UIF.

If they reject your claim, you can appeal to the Regional Appeals Committee (RAC) within 90 days, and if that fails, you can appeal to the National Appeals Committee (NAC) whose decision is final. You will need to fill in form UI 12. For more information about the appeal process, you can ask at your local labour office or call the UIF Call Centre on 0800 843 843 and have your ID number ready.

Wishing you the best,

Answered on Nov. 11, 2021, 4:37 p.m.

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