Friday, 12 February 2021 17:06

Staff Reporter.

The South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) says recipients of the COVID-19 Social Relief of Distress Grant need not reapply for the grant. 

This follows the announcement made by President Cyril Ramaphosa during the State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Thursday, that the special COVID-19 grant of R350 would be extended for another three months.

The special grant was introduced last year following the emergence of Coronavirus.

According to SASSA, the agency has processed in excess of 9.6 million applications each month from May 2020 to January 2021, and has paid more than 6.5 million grants per month.

"The total amount spent on this grant to date has exceeded R16 billion," SASSA said in a statement on Friday.

The following should be noted about this grant:

  • There is no need to go to a SASSA office; all SRD processes are done online. Any amendments on your application can be made at https://srd.sassa.gov.za;
  • Those who have already received this grant and are on the system need not reapply;
  • Every application will be validated monthly, as has been the case, and if approved, will be paid; and
  • Clients, whose applications for the grant were declined, can lodge an appeal for review on the SASSA COVID-19 portal: https://srd.sassa.gov.za. Declined applicants who already lodged appeals need not reapply or re-appeal.

SASSA has also reassured all citizens who had their special grant approved, but had not been paid by the end of January, will still be paid through the existing payment channels, including the South African Post Office, direct deposits into bank accounts or money transfers to cell phones, as requested by the approved applicants. 

Meanwhile the human rights organisation, Black Sash has demanded the grant be aligned with the upper-bound poverty line of R1,268.

It said in the interim, an adjustment to the food poverty line, now at R585, would be adequate.

The Black Sash said the Covid-19 pandemic continued to be an immediate threat and until there were large scale vaccinations, everyone remained at risk.

This meant economic growth would be constrained and sufficient access to health care, food and social security remained important lifelines.

The organisation said the unemployment rate was now at 30.8% or 43.1%, according to the expanded definition. This meant immediate state intervention in the form of direct cash transfers was required for those who were unable to meet their basic needs.

It said close to 10 million people applied for the Covid-19 social relief of distress grant and  about three million were rejected. This illustrated how pervasive poverty was.

It added that the president’s projection for a recovered economy with significant employment opportunities by the end of 2021 was extremely unrealistic.

"While we note the second three-month extension of the Covid-19 SRD grant, government must immediately adjust the eligibility criteria to include adult women who are unemployed and who receive a child support grant on behalf of children."

It also said the government must extend the grant until the end of the 2020/2021 financial year, after which basic income support for those aged 18 to 59 years with no to little income needed to be made permanent.