Covid-19 unemployment grant applicants unhappy with rejection notices
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Johannesburg - The issue of who qualifies to receive the special Covid-19 unemployment relief grant continues to cause distress amongst applicants who claim they have been rejected even though they do not receive an income.
Many users on social media have expressed their grievances and questioned the processes applied by the SA Social Security Agency (Sassa) to issue the R350 unemployment relief grant.
The special Covid-19 Social Relief of Distress grant was announced by President Cyril Ramaposa in April and was set up to help unemployed South Africans during the pandemic for a period of up to six months.
The government said the grant would be paid to unemployed individuals who were above the age of 18 and who did not receive any income, NSFAS funding, social grants, UIF or any other form of payment.
Sassa had indicated that a strict application process would be followed to ensure that only those who have no other source of income benefit.
This process includes applications being double-checked on other government systems such as UIF and Nfsas. On Thursday the agency said millions had been rejected as the system recorded that they were indeed benefiting from other forms of income.
Sassa said it had received 6.2 million applications, of which it had approved 3.2 million and had already paid out 1.2 million applicants to date.
This means the organisation declined applications from 2.8 million people.
The agency said several applicants who had been rejected had lodged grievances with the agency. It said the majority of rejected applications were of people who were found to be receiving UIF benefits.
“In this case, the applicants are advised to contact the Department of Employment and Labour to either apply for UIF or follow up with their applications,” Sassa said in a statement.
Sassa chief executive Totsie Memela said the grant was not for everyone and was aware that it had become a source of unhappiness, especially among applicants who were rejected.
But some applicants have disputed that they were receiving UIF payments or other sources of income.
Karabo Mahlangu from Soweto told Independent Media that she had received a rejection message on Monday. She said she had not received any form of assistance from UIF and had last claimed in 2018 and was now unemployed.
"I am very angry because I had followed the process as they told us to. Now I have this rejection message I don't know what to do," she said.
Many other complainants took to social media to layout their grief. The agency currently does not have an appeal process but said those who feel aggrieved should either call 0800 60 10 11 or email [email protected] with their complaints to access the recourse mechanism.
So my Application has been declined and apparently I'm receiving payments from other sources, that time I only completed my Studies last year.
— Bonginkosi Mkhabela (@BPMkhabela) June 14, 2020
I am not working, nor receiving UIF, nor any financial assistance from government and whatsoever yet I was declined
— PT_K (@PrimroseTKhoza) June 18, 2020
So you expect people to email and call you after you declined them .I myself I am not in line to receive any UIF and I am not receiving any income since 2015/2016 but I was declined anyways..all I can say is this is just an impossible task and a scam..
— Ubuhle Angela (@UbuhleAngela) June 18, 2020
Meanwhile, the Department of Employment and Labour said that for May payments alone, the UIF has disbursed close to R6-billion (R5 893 080 491.35) for 1 440 757 individuals while the CF has logged 448 claims that have been received directly as well as via the Rand Mutual and Federated Employers.