Around 123,000 applicants for the R350 COVID-19 social relief of distress (SRD) grant have failed the bank account verification process, Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu has said.
Zulu was explaining the challenges the SA Social Security Agency (SASSA) is facing in implementing the grant during a media briefing on Monday.
She said, “A high number of applicants failed the bank accounts verification process largely due to errors in the capturing of banking information and some applicants attempting to use other people’s bank accounts.
“Approximately 123,000 [applicants] failed bank account verification, which is facilitated through the National Treasury prior to crediting of accounts.”
SASSA SRD payments through Post Bank
To address this challenge, Zulu said SASSA SRD payments for those who failed bank account verification processes could now be paid through Post Bank.
“In this regard, SASSA has requested Post Bank to open accounts for the clients to enable payment without delay. Clients will be able to update their banking details and preferences in future should they wish to make use of different bank accounts or even the cash send option and not continue receiving the money through the post office,” the Minister said.
Zulu cited other challenges such as “systems development,” the need for multiple data verification sources, and slow response from applicants to requests for bank account details.
She said SASSA reviewed all declined applications over the past two weeks, especially those that were declined because their details were appearing on the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) database.
900,000 declined applications reconsidered
As a result, 900,000 applications that were previously declined “were found to potentially qualify” for payment from May 2020. “SMS messages were sent to all these applicants indicating that they have been provisionally approved and must provide SASSA with their banking details,” Zulu added.
Applicants who wish to appeal their rejected applications can send their queries via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. The recourse process will be electronic, the Minister said.
She added, “The recourse process will be gazetted in due course. This will provide the legal framework within which the reassessments will take place. This will ensure that all applicants are dealt with in a transparent and administratively just manner.”
As of 12 July, SASSA had paid 3,429,808 of the approved applications, amounting to R1.2 billion for May 2020 applications. The agency will reassess applicants on a monthly basis to determine whether they still qualify or not.