The South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) is a government agency responsible for administering social assistance programmes to eligible citizens, including permanent residents, who are in need of financial assistance. Sassa was established in 2005 to manage the distribution of social grants.
Sassa introduced the Social Relief of Distress grant, the SRD or R350 grant, during the Covid-19 pandemic to provide social relief to South African citizens. Although the State of Disaster has come to an end, the Social Relief of Distress (SRD) grant will continue but under new rules.
Sassa works closely with the Department of Social Development (DSD) to assist vulnerable individuals and South African citizens in need of support. The Social Development Department and the social grant plays an important role in reducing poverty and promoting social inclusion in South Africa.
This is why the grants are important for people in economic and financial distress, social relief is many South Africans' livelihood and temporary provision of income as this is who Sassa's assistance intended target is.
Changes To Social Relief Grant Application Process
The Social Relief of Distress (SRD) grant is now managed under the Social Assistance Act and not the State of Disaster Act as South Africa is no longer in a National State of Disaster. This means that there are a few changes to how the SRD grants work.
The SRD grant is a social grant which is due to come to an end in March 2023. However, it was announced that it will be extended by at least one year, to March 2024. An amount of R44 billion has been allocated to allow for the extension of the grant for 10.5 million beneficiaries monthly.
Every month, Sassa R350 grant applications are open for South Africans.
Eligibility Criteria For R350 Grant
If you yourself in a financial state of distress, social relief grants could give you the assistance needed. Social Relief of Distress applicants must be:
- South African citizens, permanent residents, refugees, holders of a special permit under the Special Angolan Dispensation, the Lesotho Exemption Permit Dispensation; Zimbabwe Exemption Permit Dispensation; or Asylum seekers with a valid section 22 permit or visa
- Between 18 and 59 years old
- Live within the borders of South Africa
- Be registered on the Home Affairs database or Sassa's social grant database for individuals without ID documents
- Not living in a government Institution or subsidised institution
- Not receiving Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) Benefits or National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) support or any other social grants distributed by Sassa
For periods of up to three months at a time, Sassa goes in and checks whether those who were approved for the social relief of distress grant are still eligible to be receiving social relief.
How to apply for the SRD grant
- Go to srd.sassa.gov.za to apply for a social grant for relief of distress
- Select your citizenship criteria at the end of the page (either pick 'South African ID Holders' or 'Asylum Seekers and Special Permit Holders')
- Select the yellow bar that says, 'click here to apply online' under the 'How do I apply for this SRD Grant' or the 'Asylum Seekers and Special Permit Holders' section depending on your citizenship selection
- Enter your mobile number
- Click "send SMS"
- Then enter the one-time pin that Sassa has sent to the number
- Continue the application process by filling in the steps required by Sassa
- Add 082 046 8553 as a contact on your phone
- Go on WhatsApp and send a message saying 'hi' to this number
- You will then receive a response and you should then respond saying 'help'
- You will be given various options, reply saying '4'
- This will lead you to the Unathi Sassa platform message which you should reply 'SRD' to
- You then have to confirm whether you're applying for the social relief of distress grant for yourself or someone else
- Now the actual social relief application begins and you'll have to submit your name, surname and ID number in the message
- You will then receive a message on WhatsApp stating the next steps
What's Needed For Your Social Relief of Distress Application
To have your SRD grant application considered, an applicant must grant consent for Sassa to verify their identity, residency, income or social security benefits. Applicants will also need to accept the declaration and consent.
Once this is done, your Social Relief Of Distress Grant application will be well on it's way to being considered. This grant is however only a temporary provision of social relief of distress.
How To Track Social Relief of Distress Applications
Once you have applied for the R350 Social Relief Of Distress Grant grant you should do a Sassa status check to keep track of your outcome.
- Visit the Sassa SRD grant website.
- Scroll down to 'Application status'.
- Select 'Click here to check online'.
- Fill in the required fields.
- You should then be able to see the status of your R350 grant application.
- Call 0800 60 10 11.
- Follow the prompts.
- Add 082 046 8553 to your phone.
- Send a message to that number.
- Follow the instructions.
If you're unable to view your social relief of distress status, Sassa has said that it may be due to their application system being overwhelmed as they receive millions of applications on a daily basis for the social relief of distress grant. Remember that Sassa administers R350 grants entirely online to over 7 million beneficiaries.
It can take up to three months (90 days) for the application process to be completed by the South African Social Security Agency.
Applicants will later receive an SMS informing them of whether they've been approved for the Social Relief of Distress grant or not.
What if my Social Relief Of Distress application is rejected?
It is also important to note that your social relief of distress application could possibly be rejected. If this happens and you feel it is for an unjustified reason. You can submit an application appeal also known as an application for reconsideration for the social relief of distress grant.
Is your social relief of distress application stuck on Pending? We've covered what this means and what steps you should take next.