While 11.3 million people applied for the R350 Social Relief of Distress (SRD) grant, only less than half of the applicants were successful due to stricter qualifying criteria.
The new approach intended the grants to be earmarked for the poorest of the poor, expressing that applicants applying must have insufficient means, not only be unemployed. All applicants’ financial support is assessed by cross-checking bank accounts.
Anyone with an income higher than R350 a month, including support from a family member, could not qualify for the grant.
The SA Social Security Agency (Sassa) said, “The additional measure is intended to exclude married applicants who have employed spouses who are in a position to financially support them, or full-time learners or students whose parents are in a financial position to support them if they are not supported through NSFAS”.
South Africa’s Minister of Social Development Lindiwe Zulu, published a draft regulation last week to raise the means test to R624, which is the current level of the food poverty line.
When comparing the latest iteration of the grant which started on 1 April and saw a very low approval rate to the last iteration where a higher income threshold of R624 was applied and more people were approved, Sassa said that as a result of the low approval rate, discussions were held with the Department of Social Development to increase the threshold to R624 which would allow more applicants to qualify.
Sassa said that if the draft regulations are accepted, the threshold of R350 would be increased to R624 and be implemented going forward.