3.5m people apply for R350 COVID-19 SRD grant in just 3 days

Image credit: Twitter/South African Government

Over 3.5 million people have applied for the R350 COVID-19 Social Relief of Distress (SRD) grant within three days of the system going live, the Department of Social Development said on Thursday.

The SA Social Security Agency (SASSA) began accepting applications on Monday, 11 May. Around 2.3 million applications have been made via the USSD (SMS) line, 204,434 via the website, 486,657 via WhatsApp and 500,000 via email.

The department is currently assessing the applications and will notify the eligible applicants, who will then start receiving their first payments on Friday (15 May).

Banking details

The department said, “Once an application has been approved, SASSA will ask for banking details. Those who have not been asked for banking details must know that they are not going to be paid tomorrow [Friday, 15 May]. We appeal to people to wait to be contacted and not visit SASSA offices.”

Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu added, “The special COVID-19 SRD grant is intended to mitigate the undue hardships faced by individuals and families through this difficult time. We are pleased with the intake so far and we urge all eligible individuals to apply on time.

“One again, we appeal to those already receiving social grants not to apply, as they are not eligible for the special COVID-19 SRD grant. It is only meant to benefit persons who are currently not receiving any form of income support from the government.

“To ensure that the system is not clogged, we appeal to all applicants not to upload any form of documentation on the application.”

SASSA SRD grant application: Eligibility

The grant is 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 R350 unemployment grant

Minister Lindiwe Zulu said 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 srd@sassa.gov.za.

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 up to the end of October 2020, provided the qualifying criteria continue to be met; 
  • If applicants apply in June their payments will be from June 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.

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