Sassa rejects 2.8 million applications for R350 Covid-19 unemployment grant

Picture: Courtney Africa/African News agency (ANA) Archives

Picture: Courtney Africa/African News agency (ANA) Archives

Published Jun 18, 2020


Johannesburg - The South African Social Security Agency has declined about 2.8 million applications from a possible 6.2 million applicants, who applied for the R350 Covid-19 unemployment grant, which was announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa in April. 

The special Covid-19 Social Relief of Distress grant 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 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. 

Sassa said a number of applicants who had been rejected had lodged grievances with the agency.

the agency said it verified all applications with public and private databases to avoid “double dipping”, thus ensuring those who deserved the funds received them. 

It said the bulk 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,” said Sassa 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. 

“We are doing everything in our power to solve the matter and a dedicated email address and phone number have been made available to process complaints.

“Those who feel aggrieved should either call 0800 60 10 11 or email [email protected] with their complaints in order to access the recourse mechanism.

“Our aim is to pay the right grant to the right people,” Memela added.  

She said the agency was paying beneficiaries daily, and she said no one would be paid without verifying their application.

“We continue to work hard to ensure that those who qualify get what is due to them. Our main aim is to support the government in alleviating poverty especially during these difficult times but we have to follow the required processes and we appeal for patience from those whose applications we have not reached so far,” said Memela.


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