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Fewer people will qualify for the R350 grant going forward — see if you do

07 June 2022 - 12:00
Covid-19 social relief of distress grant beneficiaries queue outside a post office in East London. File photo.
Covid-19 social relief of distress grant beneficiaries queue outside a post office in East London. File photo.
Image: Sino Majangaza

The social development department says applicants who receive R350 a month or more in financial support from a family member or elsewhere will be disqualified from the social relief of distress (SRD) grant in the next cycle, as it aims to prioritise those who need it most.

Payments for the new cycle of the R350 grant will be made from mid-June to beneficiaries who reapplied. 

The new cycle is from April after the grant was moved to the Social Assistance Act following the end of the national state of disaster. 

How much has been budgeted? 

Addressing parliament’s portfolio committee for social developmentsocial development minister Lindiwe Zulu said R44bn has been set aside to pay qualifying beneficiaries. 

She said the budget will provide a monthly R350 to only 10.5-million people until the end of March next year.

This is despite the department's data showing 13.4-million people in SA have no income and 18.3-million people were below the food poverty line.

“Aspects of the regulations had to be strengthened to strengthen our fraud prevention and deter those who are not the intended beneficiaries to access this grant,” said Zulu. 

“The department will thus be providing the R350 grant to less people in the third iteration than what it did in the second iteration,” she added.

How many got the R350 grant last cycle?

In May, spokesperson Paseka Letsatsi told TimesLIVE more than 15-million applications were received in the last cycle, of which about 10.6-million were approved and paid.

He said the agency had received about 9-million applications for the latest cycle of the R350 SRD grant.

“Most applications are from those who previously applied for the grant,” he explained.

What criteria will determine who is eligible for the grant? 

According to deputy director-general of the department Brenda Sibeko, all applicants will undergo “a means test,” and anyone earning R350 a month or more will be disqualified.  

Previously, the income threshold to qualify for the grant was R595, which was inclusive of child support grant beneficiaries.

“A proxy-means test consisting of checks against databases that may indicate income or alternative financial assistance and verification of insufficient means with banks.

“If the results from the bank verification referred in sub-regulation contradict the results from the data checks referred to in sub-regulation, the results from the bank verification must be used to make the final determination,” read the criteria. 

The criteria said if a person has more than one bank account, the criteria for insufficient means are deemed to have been met if all the bank accounts, assessed individually, are below the income threshold referred to in sub-regulation. 

Sibeko said approved applicants do not need to reapply for the grant every month, but checks will be made monthly to find out if applicants still qualify.

How will applicants be verified? 

Zulu reiterated that data and digital infrastructure were being used to process applications and verifications. 

“Our system for checking whether people deserve this money is in place, hence we ask them to reapply. 

“We are also working with the department of economic development and small and medium enterprises because we believe the next big thing we must focus on is to empower informal businesses and small and medium enterprises.”

Where can I collect my grant?

With the SA Post Office (Sapo) no longer paying out SRD grants, you can collect your grant from Pick n Pay, Boxer, Shoprite, Checkers or USave stores. 

Sapo and Sassa advised those eligible for the grant to choose this payment option in their applications for the grant. 

Those who chose to receive their funds at Sapo branches are requested to visit www.srd.sassa.gov.za and select an option to collect the grant from one of the supermarkets. 

“Clients who have uncollected grants at the Sapo/Postbank can collect at any of the retail outlets,” said Sassa. 

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