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COVID-19 grant recipients can switch payment method

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From 31 August to 6 September 2020, beneficiaries of the R350 social relief grant will be able to change to their preferred method of payment.

This, as the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) plans, once again, to open its online system to allow these changes to happen.

For a limited period last month, SASSA allowed beneficiaries to change the method of receiving the COVID-19 Social Relief of Distress (SRD) grant at the South African Post Office (SAPO) to a bank account of their choice, or vice versa. They also have the flexibility to move from one bank to another.

Now, the agency says another window of opportunity for beneficiaries to choose how to receive payments will take place from 31 August to 6 September 2020, and will be open 24 hours a day during this period.

According to SASSA, this development is an effort to address challenges some beneficiaries have experienced in trying to access their special relief grant from SAPO.

The agency cautions beneficiaries not to go to the post office before they have received the SMS notification that says funds are available.

The SMS notification is used to limit the numbers of people reporting to a post office on a particular day and also to ensure that sufficient cash is available, it states.

“When choosing a bank account, ensure that the account is in your name – SASSA cannot pay money for one person into the account held by another – and that the bank account is not closed. The payment process is delayed if money is sent to a closed account, as SASSA has to wait for the funds to be returned before sending it to the post office for collection,” says SASSA CEO Totsie Memela.

“Clients who update their details are advised to ensure that their information is captured correctly to avoid any further delays.”

Government introduced the COVID-19 SRD grant in a bid to provide financial support to some unemployed South Africans during the national lockdown. This is to ensure unemployed persons receive R350 for six months, from May to October.

The agency notes payment of the COVID-19 grant is quicker if paid into a bank account. “Applicants without bank accounts are thus encouraged to open a bank account. There are many entry-level, inexpensive options in the market – some of which can be opened online.

“Clients who have just been approved for the relief grant by SASSA and have received an SMS to upload and verify their bank details can do so at any time and need not wait for the window period. The sooner the details are uploaded, the quicker the payments can be made.”

Responses to frequently asked questions about the relief grant can be found on the WhatsApp platform on 082 046 8553, SASSA advises.

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