Why is SASSA declining the R350 applications?

by | Jun 29, 2020 | Personal Finance

“The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”
Never has this been more apparent than with the SA government’s, and especially SASSA’s plans during the Covid-19 lockdown. It’s one thing to have plans on paper – it’s a completely different thing to actually implement those plans. We need government and SASSA to not just talk the talk – but also walk the walk.

Due to the lockdown, many unemployed people were, and still are struggling. So, the announcement of this special Covid-19 grant seemed like a blessing when it came in April. After many glitches, and millions of applications, SASSA recently started paying out these grants. Unfortunately, they have also declined millions of applications – and people are not happy with this!

Speaking on PowerFM last week SASSA spokesperson, Paseka Letsatsi, confirmed that SASSA had already vetted 6.7 million applications and had declined 3.3 million of these submissions. He explained that these applications were declined for not meeting the criteria. According to social media posts, the response that most people who were declined received said that they were declined because they were receiving income from other sources.

However, many people are disputing this. In response to these grievances and disputes, SASSA put out a press release in which (in part) said the following:

  • “For one to qualify for the COVID-19 grant they must be either unemployed without any kind of income, or not receiving any kind of government assistance such as UIF and NSFAS, or social grants or any other financial support and must be above the age of 18.
  • The majority of declined applications are from people already on the UIF database or qualifying to receive it. 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. 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.
  • SASSA CEO Totsie Memela said the department is aware that this has caused unhappiness from applicants and thus, it is important for beneficiaries to understand the criteria because this grant is not necessarily for everyone.
  • So far 3.2 million applicants have been approved and 1.2 million have been paid. Payments are still in progress and SASSA still needs to do a verification check before any payments can be done. Applicants are processed daily but the major source of delays come from the necessary verification process which SASSA has to do with other institutions which are dependencies in the value chain.


“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. Memela said beneficiaries are advised to use their own personal accounts not those of their neighbours and also ensure that their personal details are exactly as they appear on their identity document.

“Personal information is very important because during verification check should we find out that the information provided during application does not correspond with the identity document information that might results to the application being rejected.”

All of the above is all good and well – but what if you KNOW that you are not receiving income from any other source (as SASSA claims when they denied your application)? What can you do?

According to SASSA, a dedicated email address and phone number have been made available to process complaints. Those who feel that they have been incorrectly declined, should either call 0800 60 10 11 or email [email protected]

Here is a reminder of the qualifying criteria for the R350 SRD grant

  • Above the age of 18
  • Unemployed
  • Not receiving any income
  • Currently not receiving any social grant
  • Does not receive any unemployment insurance benefit and does not qualify to receive unemployment insurance benefits
  • Not receiving a stipend from the National Student Financial Aid Scheme
  • Not a resident in a government funded or subsidised institution


This is how you can apply for the R350 SRD grant:


I really hope that SASSA deals swiftly with these disputes on the contact details that they have supplied.

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