“If you did not get the Covid-19 vaccination, you won’t be eligible for the SASSA R350 grant.”
This message has been going around but has been slammed as fake news by SASSA.
Having the Covid vaccine is NOT part of the SRD R350 Covid-19 application criteria.
These are the basic eligibility requirements are for the R350 grant:
- South African citizens / permanent residents / refugees / asylum seekers / holders of special permits
- Be unemployed
- Have no alternative source of income or financial support from any other source
- Be between the ages of 18 and 60
However, many people are saying that they do meet the requirements, but their applications are still being rejected by SASSA.
With the little feedback people get from SASSA, they then begin to speculate on what the problem could be – and this is when the “stories” start.
Someone tells someone else that they think their application was rejected because they don’t have the vaccine.
In their head, that then MUST be the reason, since they meet all the other criteria.
The person who hears this story then tells another person, until it gets to a point where someone decides to make a WhatsApp voice note or a poster, and boom, it goes viral.
Why grants are being rejected
SASSA says there are several reasons why certain grant applications are unsuccessful.
If you are owed by the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF)
- You are a recipient of the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS), regardless of the amount you get.
- The system shows that you are employed
- The system shows an alternative source of income
According to SASSA, sometimes your application is also declined if you have lost your job, but the system doesn’t reflect this.
SASSA would then conduct a means test.
The agency says: “Reconsideration applications (i.e. appeals) will be further assessed by checking if there are funds of more than R595 flowing into the client’s bank account. An exception would be if the funds are from a SASSA child-related grant.”
SASSA says that it uses information as provided by multiple institutions including the UIF, SARS, NSFAS and banks, among others, to check income from alternative sources.
Yet, some people are also having their applications declined because the SASSA system shows that they are still receiving UIF payments – which ended months or even years ago – and shows as such on the Department of Labour’s system.
So while the Labour Department says mense are no longer receiving UIF payments (thus making them eligible for the R350 grant if they have no other source of income), but SASSA’s system shows they are still receiving UIF payments.
How difficult can it be to get this right?
If your R350 grant application has been denied, you can apply for reconsideration of your application online
To challenge any decision, rejected beneficiaries have to visit https://srd.sassa.gov.za/
You can submit a request for reconsideration through the website under the tab: “Application for reconsideration”.
If you have received a response from SASSA which says “Identification verification failed”, it means that your personal details, such as name and ID number do not match what is in the Home Affairs database.
You can rectify this on the SASSA website, under the tab “request names and surname update”.
You only have 30 days from the date of rejection to lodge your appeal – so act quickly.
Do not assume that anything will be done automatically.
You need to start a NEW appeal for EACH declined application.
SASSA spokesperson Paseka Letsatsi says an application for reconsideration (appeal) should be done within 30 days after receiving the rejection result, and if approved, an applicant would be paid from the month in which they applied.
I wonder if anyone working for SASSA has any idea how physically, emotionally and mentally draining this application process is on an already vulnerable and possibly starving person?
Do they even care how demoralising it must be for people to have to jump through so many hoops for months on end, for a mere R350?
In an ideal world, the billions of rands set aside to assist the most vulnerable people during the pandemic would not have been stolen by corrupt individuals, but would have been invested in technology, systems and infrastructure of departments tasked with delivering service to the poor.
Losing your dignity for R350 does not seem like a fair exchange to me.