The Social Relief of Distress (SRD) grant has served as a lifeline for millions of unemployed individuals living in South Africa since it was introduced in 2020. While the grant was initially introduced to assist people for three months during the pandemic-related lockdowns, its implementation has been extended on several occasions.
In November 2023, Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana announced that the SRD grant’s implementation would be extended by a period of 12 months. This means that the grant will be paid to eligible individuals until March 2025.
Treasury has allocated around R34 billion for the continued payment of the SRDs grant until the government takes a policy position on whether to make the grant permanent or replace it with a Basic Income Grant.
The R34 billion allocated to the extension of the grant is notably less than the R44 billion government shelled out to extend the grant’s implementation in the past.
Deputy Director-General of Public Finance Mampho Modise says the reduction in the amount allocated to the grant was not aimed at expelling individuals from the system.
This was just to ensure that we do not give a grant to people who are working, who have an income but they use different bank accounts to try and get additional funding.
Additional measures are now being implemented by the Treasury to assess eligibility for the grant.
If you have an amount of R670 in your bank account, then you do not qualify for the social relief of distress grant, and we also look at the people who have multiple bank accounts.
Furthermore, Modise said that applicants may be required to reapply for the SRD grant every three months to verify whether they have obtained employment in the interim.
Changes To SRD Grant Criteria
In addition to the existing criteria for the SRD grant, National Treasury revealed that two new criteria will be introduced to ensure only deserving individuals receive the grant. This new criteria will include ensuring that SRD grant applicants do not have multiple bank accounts.
Why Are Bank Accounts Important For The SRD Grant?
To be eligible for a SRD grant payment, individuals may not have income exceeding R624.
In terms of the SRD grant, income refers to the money a person has in their bank account. If the funds in their bank account exceed R624, their application for the SRD grant will be rejected.
The government is concerned that individuals may have more than one bank account and can therefore bypass the controls in place to ensure only deserving individuals receive the grant.
Who Qualifies For The SRD Grant?
Currently, to be eligible for the SRD grant, applicants must be between the ages of 18 and 59, be a South African citizen, residing within the country's borders, and be unemployed. Additionally, permanent residents and special permit holders are also eligible to receive the SRD grant.
Grant recipients should not be receiving any form of support from the South African government or any state-affiliated institution. Beneficiaries of Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) benefits and the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) are prohibited from receiving the SRD grant. Individuals should not be financially supported by any state institution.