SASSA not processing new applications for the R350 Covid grant

The agency says it’s waiting for Department of Social Development to finalise amended regulations

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Hundreds of R350 Covid-19 grant applicants waited outside the Post Office in Kariega. Archive photo: Thamsanqa Mbovane

  • SASSA will not be processing new R350 Covid Grant applications until the relevant regulations have been amended.
  • The grant was introduced and distributed under the Disaster Management Act to provide relief to poor people and those left vulnerable due to the Covid pandemic. It must now be transferred under the Social Assistance Act.
  • SASSA says it’s waiting for the Department of Social Development to finalise the legal framework before processing any R350 grant applications.

No new R350 social relief of distress (SRD) grants will be processed until the government amends the regulations to shift the grant from the Disaster Management Act to the Social Assistance Act. This is according to South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) spokesman Paseka Letsatsi.

“The legal framework for the grant has changed, with the ending of the state of disaster. The grant now has to be included under the Social Assistance Act,” Paseka told GroundUp. “SASSA is unable to process any applications for the R350 relief grant for April until the work to provide the legal framework for the grant is completed. Announcements will be made as soon as this is done.”

“The legal framework has to change, as the grant cannot be provided under the Disaster Management Act. The Department of Social Development is currently busy with the inclusion of this grant under the Regulations to the Social Assistance Act. The amended Regulations were put out for public comment, and the process is underway to incorporate all the comments and finalise the regulations. Once this is completed, announcements will be made as to what is expected of applicants for the social relief grant of R350 per month.”

During his State of the Nation address in February, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that the R350 grant would be extended to the end of March 2023. More than 10-million people depend on the grant.

According to Letsatsi, current beneficiaries are not affected by the change in regulations.

He warned that the grant was not permanent and applied only to those who had no other financial support.

The qualifying criteria for this grant were checked every month before approved beneficiaries are paid electronically, Paseka said.

“Any applicant who was declined and feels they do meet the qualifying criteria has the right to appeal. This appeal must be lodged monthly as soon as the outcome of the application is made known for that month,” he said. Appeals lodged after this 30-day period will not be considered.

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Write a letter in response to this article

Letters

Dear Editor

I applied for my grant in November 2021 and was approved with dates in February 2022. But whenever I go to the Post Office they are offline or don't have money. So what am I supposed to do just to get my money? They always give new dates to collect but again no luck. I'm 83 years old!

Dear Editor

SASSA is not processing payments for existing beneficiaries as well. April does not reflect on their status updates. Whether a person is approved or not, the month of April will reflect. Why is this happening? First, they said it was due to an upgrade on their systems and a day later, it's the change from Disaster Management to Social Distress. This should never have been an issue. It should be dealt with timeously and effectively. It's not new either. It's running for almost 2 years. Lies, corruption and incompetence can be expected from our government.

Dear Editor

After months of receiving the grant, which I'm very grateful for, we were told to reapply and the last payment was for March. R350 might not be a lot of money for other people but I was relying on it to meet basic needs. My application says pending on the SASSA website and this article explains why. Can't SASSA specify the reason for the application pending so that people know and understand why they are waiting?

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