Since its introduction to the South African public during the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic, the R350 grant has ensured that those who are financially vulnerable can afford bare necessities. However, there remains a portion of qualifying beneficiaries who have gone months without receiving their grant payment for a number of reasons.
Being a beneficiary of the R350 grant can be challenging when you do not receive it according to its mandated schedule, especially if it is your only source of income.
This has been the unfortunate reality for some of the grant’s recipients, whose grant payment delays have spanned months before the grant’s current cycle. Sassa was able to build up a backlog of SRD grant recipients who had not yet received their payments during the processing of SRD grant payments for the previous cycle.
Even though many of the impacted beneficiaries’ applications were accepted months before the current period, they still have “Pending” statuses when they track them.
The reason applications from June had been approved, according to Sassa, is that the agency has been working to keep up with the influx of new applications through their systems.
Sassa stated that they had taken note of the backlog of applications from May and April. The agency went on to say that they are engaged in a project to address the issue.
Furthermore, the persistent delays that R350 grant recipients encounter have several other reasons, according to Minister of Social Development Lindiwe Zulu. One of them is providing inaccurate banking details when applying, or changing banks without notifying Sassa beforehand.
However, despite this swift response, it would later surface in October that September grant SRD grant payments were still outstanding, but Sassa hoped to resolve this by the end of October.
Brenton van Vrede, Sassa’s executive manager for grants administration, reported that the backlog had been lowered from three months to one month at the time. In Pretoria, Van Vrede joined the social development minister to provide an update on assistance for impoverished families.
According to Sassa, changes to the eligibility requirements were to blame for the one-month delay in disbursing the R350 grant payments.
The means test threshold is the biggest change among those. When it raised the threshold from R350 to R624, the government faced criticism earlier in the year. This meant that candidates whose income was more than R600 would not be considered for the grant.
More than 7.5 million beneficiaries have received payments since June 2022, but September is not included. Van Vrede stated that the agency was working nonstop to clear the backlog
“We will pay in September. We’ve just started with assessments over the current weekend, and we hope to wrap it up in the week ahead,” he said
Sassa also emphasised that these R350 grant payments will not be in the form of double payments or a single sum because Sassa evaluates each month individually.