South Africa News

Close to 6 million Covid-19 grant applications paid

The South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) says it has received more than 14 million applications since the new round of Covid 19 Social Relief of Distress (SRD) grants began in August.

To date, some 8.3 million applicants have been approved and over 5.6 million received their grants by September 2021.

Sassa said it managed to expedite payments to verified applicants despite the high volume of applications.

It is still in the process of verifying the remaining applications.

About 1.5 million people preferred their monies to be paid via the cardless channel at ATMs.

But this category is yet to be paid because National Treasury is still considering this request.

“As soon as Treasury approves our request, we will pay every cent owed to this category of beneficiaries without any waste of time,” said Sassa CEO Busisiwe Memela-Khambula.

“We really empathise with them, but we also have a responsibility to follow the law.”

Memela-Khambula said unemployed caregivers who don’t have ID books but receive child grants could now apply for the Special Covid-19 SRD grant.

This category is composed mainly of refugees and asylum seekers.

Sassa has allocated these applicants a system-generated 7777 identification number so they can access state social assistance.

Unemployed caregivers with ID books and are approved for the Covid-19 SRD grant will continue receiving their monies through their gold Sassa cards.

These clients are discouraged from collecting their grants at the post office and instead, they access their money from participating merchants or bank ATMs.

They can also use the card to pay for purchases and not necessarily only to withdraw cash.

So far, more than two-thirds of appeals lodged have been finalized.

Sassa sends these cases to the banking sector for validation, which takes time in some cases.

Memela-Khambula said this is to double-check the applicant is not receiving an income because the Covid-19 SRD grant is only for the unemployed.

“Sassa requests applicants who have not yet received their appeals’ feedback to be patient as everything humanly possible is [being] done to finalize the process,” concluded Memela-Khambula.

-The Citizen

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