How to apply for unemployment grant: All the details

Image credit: Twitter/South African Government

In April, the Minister of Social Development Lindiwe Zulu announced the qualifying criteria and how to apply for unemployment grant, also known as the social relief of distress (SRD) grant.

Although Zulu said successful applicants will receive R350 per month for six months starting from May until October 2020, President Cyril Ramaphosa recently announced the extension of the grant by three months.

The following is a summary of the qualifying criteria and details of how to apply for SASSA unemployment grant.

Requirements for unemployment grant

Zulu said, “The grant will be available to South African citizens, permanent residents or refugees registered on the Home Affairs system who are resident within the borders of the Republic of South Africa.”

In addition, applicants must be:

  • Above the age of 18;
  • Unemployed;
  • Not receiving any income;
  • Not receiving any social grant;
  • Not receiving any unemployment insurance (UIF) benefit and does not qualify to receive unemployment insurance benefits;
  • Not receiving a stipend from the National Student Financial Aid Scheme; and
  • Not resident in a government funded or subsidised institution.

The following compulsory information is required from applicants:

  • Identity Number/Department of Home Affairs permit;
  • Name and surname as captured in the ID (and initials);
  • Gender and disability;
  • Banking details – bank name and account number;
  • Contact details – cellphone number; and
  • Proof of residential address.

How to apply for unemployment grant

Minister Lindiwe Zulu said unemployment grant applications “may be lodged electronically over and above any other available means.”

Applicants may apply using the following means:

  • Sending a WhatsApp message to 082 046 8553;
  • Using the following SSD or SMS line: *134*7737#
  • Sending an email to;
  • Contacting SASSA call centre at 0800 60 10 11;
  • Visiting

“For our people with no access to technology, volunteers will be trained to assist applicants who cannot use technology and will be provided with gadgets to capture details on behalf of applicants,” she said.

Once an application has been approved, SASSA will electronically request confirmation of bank account details through a secure link.

Payment process

Applicants will receive notifications of payment in the same medium they used to apply. For instance, an applicant using WhatsApp will receive the notification on the same WhatsApp number he/she used to apply for the grant.

The following additional measures will apply:

  • Payments will be made mainly through bank accounts of the applicants and through cash send measures through banks;
  • The grant will be paid from the date of approval, provided the qualifying criteria continue are met;
  • For instance, if applicants apply in October, their payments will be from October and there will be no backpay.
  • Applicants grant consent to SASSA to verify their residency, ID/permit details, sources of income and/or social security benefits. False applications could result in prosecutions.

You can also find this information on how to apply for unemployment grant from SASSA’s website here:

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