Answer to a question from a reader

What can I do if a UIF employee won't help me even if I have all the necessary documents?

The short answer

You can contact the UIF Call Centre to ask that they help you. You can also lodge a complaint against the employee.

The whole question

Dear Athalie

A UIF official refused to help me claim my late husband's UIF because I did not have all my documents. When I got all the papers I needed and went back, he still wouldn't help me! What can I do?

The long answer

These are the conditions and documents that a UIF requires when a surviving spouse or life partner applies for UIF, according to a pamphlet it published called Know your UIF rights and obligations:


  • The surviving spouse/life partner must apply for benefits within 18 months from the date of death of the contributor;

  • A dependent child can apply for benefits if the surviving spouse(s)/ life partner has not applied within 18 months of the contributor’s death;

  • Any child of the deceased who is between the ages of 21 and 25 at the date of death of the contributor may also qualify for benefits. The child has to be a learner/student and must have been wholly dependent on the deceased contributor;

  • Subject to credits, benefits can be paid for a maximum of 365 days;

  • Contributors will be allowed to nominate their own beneficiaries in case of death benefits, provided there is no surviving spouse/ life partner or children. 


  • 13-digit bar coded/Smart Card RSA ID, passport or valid foreign national passport/ID card/asylum seeker/refugee document; 

  • Children: in case of a guardian, proof of guardianship is required and if applicable a letter confirming that a minor is still in school and birth certificate will be required;

  • Marriage certificate;

  • Death certificate of the deceased contributor. (The application will not be considered with a foreign death certificate. Only South African burial order issued by Department of Home Affairs will be accepted); 

  • Marriage certificate or Lobola letter or an affidavit in case of life partner;

  • Birth certificate/s of dependent/s;

  • Proof of schooling (applies to all dependents who are between the ages of 21 and 25).

I will give you telephone numbers where UIF can be contacted and you can ask why you were not helped when you brought in the information that they had asked for to the UIF offices. You could also go in to the office again and ask for a person who will attend to your complaint.

You could also make a sworn affidavit about not being helped by the UIF official with the exact dates when you went in, the documents you brought and if possible, the name of the official who refused to help you, and ask for the person who takes complaints.

Don’t be discouraged by rudeness and long queues: you have a right to claim your late husband’s UIF.

These are the numbers the UIF gives:

  1. UIF Call Centre: 0800 UIF (0800 843 843)

  2. To escalate complaint: 0800 030 007

Department of Labour: 012 309 4000

You could also ask an organisation like the Black Sash which gives free paralegal advice to help you. Their contact details are:


Helpline: 072 66 33 739

Wishing you the best,

Answered on Oct. 4, 2022, 3:16 p.m.

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Please note. We are not lawyers or financial advisors. We do our best to make the answers accurate, but we cannot accept any legal liability if there are errors.