By now everyone knows that the R350 Social Relief of Distress grant is back in effect from the end of August 2021 until the end of March 2022.
However, there is still much confusion about the grant.
Yet, 45 minutes after the system opened up for applications, there were already problems which left mense frustrated and fuming.
I have tried to clarify some facts around the latest R350 grant:
1. Applications opened on Friday, 6 August 2021.
2. Over 2000 people per minute applied for the grant on the first day.
3. The SASSA website couldn’t cope with all this traffic, and they then added more ways besides the website and Whatsapp to apply for the grant.
4. Applications can only be done digitally via the following ways:
B. WhatsApp line on 082 046 8553,
C. SMS to *134*7737#.
D. Gov chat: https://govchat.app/login.
E. Facebook Messenger https://facebook.com.govchat.org.
5. For grant enquiries you can call the SASSA toll-free line on 0800 60 10 11.
6. You should only submit your application through ONE of the above channels. Do not make multiple applications via different channels.
7. SASSA will start making the first payments from the last week of August 2021.
8. There is NO AUTOMATIC qualification or payment.
9. Even if you have previously received this R350 grant – you MUST APPLY AGAIN.
10. You need only apply once – thereafter the application will be considered monthly.
11. If for some reason you didn’t get your grant for any period of time from May 2020 to April 2021 – then you only have until end August 2021 to urgently contact SASSA.
12. After 31 August 2021, SASSA will not be able to consider any enquiries relating to the previous grant.
13. If your application was approved but not paid, because you could not be traced or you did not contact SASSA to update your personal details, then you forfeit the money to the State after 31 August.
14. You can’t claim for the months that the grant has not been in place this year, that is from May 2021 until July 2021.
15. If you previously cancelled this grant, but your circumstances have changed, you are welcome to re-apply.
Why must you re-apply?
Minister of Social Development Lindiwe Zulu said: “We will start making the first payments by the end of August 2021. Everyone has to reapply. All applications will be treated as new applications, even those who were receiving the grant before, because maybe some people may have gone and found employment since receiving the grant.”
According to the minister, reapplication is needed because:
1. Firstly, people’s circumstances may have changed over time;
2. Secondly, in order to confirm clients’ personal details, and assess their income and financial status;
3. Thirdly, applicants need to accept the declaration and consent;
4. You also have to grant consent for SASSA to verify your identity, residency, income or social security benefits with any other institution deemed necessary by SASSA;
5. Every application will once again go through the entire verification and validation process.
What documents will you need to apply:
1. ID document or police affidavit to prove your identity.
2. Proof of your banking details
3. Contact numbers
4. Proof of residence
5. If possible, documents which show you are in need of financial support.
SASSA has appealed to the public to provide information on a bank account through which they can be paid, so that long queues and inconvenience can be reduced.
It is also important for you to provide the correct mobile number on which you can be contacted, as all communication with applicants will be through SMS notifications.
The R350 SRD grant will be payable to a person who is:
1. A South African citizen, or a permanent resident/refugee registered with Home Affairs.
2. An asylum seeker with valid certificates.
3. Aged between 18 and 59.
5. Not already receiving a social grant.
6. Not receiving employment insurance benefit.
7. Not receiving support from NSFAS and any other financial aid.
8. A caregiver who is not receiving a social grant for themselves.
What happens after you apply?
Minister Zulu said: “Our new process will now request the applicants to provide their banking details upfront, so that we can process payment as soon as they meet the criteria.
“This will help address the challenge we faced in the past where some applicants took long to respond to our request for banking details which led to delays in processing their payments.”
The bank account or the cellphone number provided for payment must be registered in the name of the approved applicant for the grant, to ensure that payment goes to the correct person.
The grant will be paid into the bank account of the beneficiary.
For people who do not have bank accounts, SASSA will pay through the SA Post Office (SAPO) or Post Bank, or using a bank mobile money transfers (cash send).
If your application is approved but not paid because you could not be traced, you will forfeit the money to the State after 31 August 2021.
If this was a perfect world, then the most vulnerable in our society would be receiving far more than R350, and the process would be far more streamlined.
I pray that SASSA, the Post Office and all the relevant role players get their act together and see to it that everyone who needs this grant gets it with as little hassle as possible. This is the third round of this R350 SRD grant. Surely, it is about time SASSA gets it right!
I really hope this article brought some clarity to this burning issue for our readers.