COVID-19 Grant
Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu has announced the criteria for the R350 Covid-19 relief grant announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: Jairus Mmutle/GCIS

Since the new iteration of the COVID-19 Grant commenced early in August the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) has received close to 14 million applications. Over 8.3 million applicants have been approved and over 5.6 million have since been paid by the month of September 2021. Despite the high number of applications, SASSA has been able to expedite payment of verified clients, while continuing to verify the remaining applications.

About 1.5 million applicants chose to be paid through the cardless payment channel at ATM’s. This category has not been paid as yet due to the fact that SASSA went through a procurement process to use this payment method with the banks, and National Treasury is currently considering this request.

“As soon as Treasury approves our request, we will pay every cent owed to this category of beneficiaries without any waste of time. We really empathise with them but we also have a responsibility to follow the law,” SASSA CEO, Busisiwe Memela-Khambula said.

On the other hand, unemployed caregivers without the 13-digit barcoded South African identification documents, who receive child grants, can now apply for the Special COVID-19 grant. This category is composed largely by refugees and asylum seekers.  To enable these specific clients to apply for social grants, SASSA has allocated them a system-generated 7777 identification number to assist them to access social assistance.

Furthermore, unemployed caregivers with ID documents who have been approved for the COVID-19  grant are reminded that they are paid through their gold SASSA payment cards.  These clients who receive their R350 grant in their SASSA cards are advised not to collect at the Post Office but to access the money at participating merchants or bank ATMs.  They are reminded that they can also use the card to pay for purchases and not necessarily only to withdraw cash.

Over two-thirds of appeals lodged have been finalised. As part of the process, SASSA sends these cases to the banking sector for validation which may take time in some cases. The main purpose is to double-check if they do not receive an income because part of the COVID-19 grant criteria is that applicants should be unemployed and without any income.

“SASSA requests applicants who have not yet received their appeals’ feedback to be patient as everything humanly possible is done to finalise the process,” concluded Memela.

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