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Parliament Briefed on Impact of COVID-19 on the Social Development Sector

June 19, 2020

Department of Social Development

As of last week, approximately 13 million applications and/or enquiries have been received on the Special COVID-19 Grant.

The social development department confirmed this in a briefing on the impact of COVID-19 on the social development sector during a virtual meeting in parliament.

The department added that the total includes messages inquiring about the grant.

The Special COVID-19 Social Relief of Distress Grant pays R350 per month from May – October 2020 to qualifying applicants.

Of the approximately 13 million received transactions as at 7 June 2020, 6,596,216 were valid complete applications with the rest consisting of either duplicate applications, incomplete or with inconsistent data, or were just pure enquiries.

Challenges include that demand will exceed supply in that R3.5 billion can only serve between 1.6 million to 2 million people, possible legal challenges arising from the exclusion of asylum seekers and administrative challenges such as accessing RICA information for cell phone number verification to ensure payment.

The department also confirmed that the COVID-19 lockdown has increased food insecurity and approximately 50% of the population are at risk of food insecurity.

Meanwhile, in a statement, the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) confirmed that it has received numerous grievances with regards to declined R350 grant applications.

Most declined applications are from people already on the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) database or qualifying to receive it.

SASSA advises that, in such cases, applicants should contact the employment and labour department to either apply for UIF or follow up with their applications.

“SASSA verifies all applications by matching their data with other public and private databases to eliminate possibilities of double-dipping, so that only deserving applicants receive this financial aid.”