COVID-19 SRD grant: SASSA approves 3.2m applications but declines others

Image credit: Twitter/SASSA

The SA Social Security Agency (SASSA) says it has declined some COVID-19 social relief of distress (SRD) grant applications because they do not meet the criteria.

In a statement on Thursday, the agency said it had approved 3.2 million applications so far and paid 1.2 million of them. Payments are still in progress, but delays are occasioned by “necessary verification processes,” it added.

SASSA said, “The majority of declined applications are from people already on the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) database or qualifying to receive it. In this case the applicants are advised to contact the Department of Employment and Labour to either apply for UIF or follow up with their applications.”

Dedicated contacts for complaints

SASSA CEO Totsie Memela said while the agency was aware of “unhappiness” among applicants, it was important to verify applications to ensure deserving applicants receive the grants.

She explained, “We are doing everything in our power to solve the matter and a dedicated email address and phone number have been made available to process complaints.

“Those who feel aggrieved should either call 0800 60 10 11 or email srd@sassa.gov.za with their complaints in order to access the recourse mechanism. Our aim is to pay the right grant to the right people.”

Memela appealed for patience from applicants who have not yet received the grant and urged them to use their own personal accounts. They should also ensure that their details are accurate.

“Personal information is very important because during verification check should we find out that the information provided during application does not correspond with the Identity document information that might results to the application being rejected,” she said.

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

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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