Grant clarity

Shanaaz Dreyer, Lentegeur

I applied to the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) for the R350 Covid-19 lockdown relief grant on Wednesday April 29 via WhatsApp.

At the time I applied for a disability grant because I am unable to work and dependent on my daughter, with whom I live. But because of the lockdown they did not process my application.

On Tuesday July 30 I received a SMS stating that my Social Relief of Distress Grant (SRD) payment was declined.

It said that records show I have had an income for the last 18-months.

Henry De Grass, General manager of grants administration for Sassa Western Cape, responds:

Sassa would like to confirm that it is implementing an appeals and recourse process for the SRD R350 applications which have been denied.

Some applications have been declined as they did not meet the criteria.

For one to qualify for the Covid-19 grant they must be either unemployed without any kind of income, or not receiving any kind of government assistance such as Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) and National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS), social grants or any other financial support and must be above the age of 18.

The central system which administers the application process for the R350 Covid 19 can only give a provincial breakdown on how many clients have been approved.

The majority of declined applications are from people already on the 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.

Sassa verifies all applications by matching their data with other public and private databases to eliminate possibilities of double-dipping, so that only deserving applicants receive this financial aid.

Sassa is aware that the rejections have caused unhappiness from applicants and thus it is important for beneficiaries to understand the criteria because this grant is not necessarily for everyone.

So far 3.2 million applicants have been approved and 1.2 million have been paid.

Payments are still in progress and Sassa still needs to do a verification check before any payments can be done.

Applicants are processed daily but the major source of delays come from the necessary verification process which Sassa has to do with other institutions which are dependencies in the value chain.

We continue to work hard to ensure that those who qualify get what is due to them.

Our main aim is to support the government in alleviating poverty especially during these difficult times but we have to follow the required processes and we appeal for patience from those whose applications we have not reached so far and that beneficiaries are advised to use their own personal accounts not those of their neighbours and also ensure that their personal details are exactly as they appear on their identity document (ID).

Personal information is very important because during verification check should we find out that the information provided during application does not correspond with the ID information that might results to the application being rejected,

Therefore, Sassa is implementing a recourse and reconsideration process for the SRD R350 applicants that have been declined.

This is simply an appeals process which allows for those who had been declined, to state their case to an appeals panel.

A dedicated email address has been set-up with dedicated staff to respond to these mails: