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Three channels to access R350 COVID grant, says SASSA

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The South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) says payments for the special COVID-19 grant will be channelled through direct deposits into approved beneficiaries’ bank accounts, mobile money transfers via cellphones, and the South African Post Office (SAPO).

This, as the social security agency began making payments into beneficiaries’ accounts yesterday, noting these will be carried out over the coming days.

To avoid overcrowding at post office branches and help minimise the spread of COVID-19, SASSA and SAPO put in place a joint strategy, says the agency in a statement.

“The last three digits of approved beneficiaries’ identity numbers will be used for payment collection on a specific day of the week.

“Most importantly, if a person has not received an SMS from SASSA notifying them the grant is available for collection, it means the grant is not available yet. In other words, every approved applicant must first wait for an SMS confirming the grant is available before approaching the post office.”

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to take its toll, president Cyril Ramaphosa last month said government will reinstate the special COVID-19 grant from August until 31 March 2022.

Government initially introduced the grant last year as a way to cushion South Africa’s poorest and distressed citizens from the financial burden brought on by the pandemic. In terms of the grant, unemployed persons receive R350 per month.

When applications opened on 6 August, SASSA reported a systems slowdown as a result of an influx in applications, which left some applicants frustrated with the process.

According to SASSA, it had received 8 931 375 applications from all nine provinces by 18 August, 41% of which were from males and 59% from females.

SASSA advises against applicants going to the post office branch to check if grants are available, adding SAPO will not pay the R350 grants during public holidays, weekends and when other monthly social grants payments take place.

“The grant will not be available if it is not the day of the week when SAPO uses the last three digits of your ID number to pay.”

Furthermore, the agency says a function for all applicants to start checking their status on the system “will be available later this week”.

This function has not been available, because SASSA has kept the channels open to cope with the high number of applications being received.

Applications for the special social relief grant can be submitted via the website portal, through the WhatsApp line on 082 046 8553, or on the GovChat website.

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