SASSA approves more COVID-19 grant applicants

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The South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) says the switch to an updated database led to the approval of an additional one million applicants for the R350 social relief grant.

SASSA has encountered some challenges in disbursing the COVID-19 Social Relief of Distress (SRD) grants, most notably determining applicants that qualify and payment backlogs.

This month, the agency said it would use an updated database to reconsider applications made in May before subjecting them to an appeal process. This was after it discovered that the high number of rejections raised questions.

In a statement, SASSA says the newly-approved applicants drastically reduce the number of potential appeals and will also cushion the affected beneficiaries against the current impact of the lockdown.

The agency adds it also started with double payments for outstanding June and July accounts for the R350 special relief grant this week.

This was meant to avoid a situation where beneficiaries of the COVID-19 SRD grant have to make two trips to the post office and to eradicate the backlog of payments, it states.

“Payments for June and July have started with transfers into the bank accounts of those who have bank accounts. Payments for those who receive their money through the post office will be done progressively throughout the month, to try and limit the numbers of people at the post offices on a daily basis.

“Beneficiaries are reminded that they should only visit the post office once they have received an SMS saying their money has been paid in and is ready for collection.”

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

Targeted at the unemployed, only South African citizens, permanent residents or refugees registered on the home affairs system are eligible to receive the social relief grant.

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