Sassa launches Covid-19 relief grant

2020-05-20 06:04
photo: sourcedMinister of Social Development Lindiwe Zulu.

photo: sourcedMinister of Social Development Lindiwe Zulu.

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THE applications for the Social Relief of Distress Grant will resume with limited services at local offices. This emerged at a media briefing where the Minister of Social Development Lindiwe Zulu was addressing the media on the updated social development response measures against the spread of the Coronavirus.

Mondays and Tuesdays will be used to receive applications from older persons. The department said a priority “will be given to those citizens who turned 60 just prior to or during the lockdown period, who were unable to complete their applications before services were stopped.”

Wednesdays and Thursdays will be new applications for child support and foster child grants. The department said a priority will be given to care givers with new babies, instances where the care giver has to change or where circumstances have resulted in care givers having no income to support their children.

According to the department, South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) has received over 80 thousand applications for Social Relief of Distress (SRD) as of April 30. The government has budgeted R407 Million Rand for the SRD programme. A Greytown resident, Nombuso Phungula, is among the unemployed youth waiting for the grant to be paid into her account.

“Although we cannot do much with R350, I think it will make a difference to the lives of the people who are in need. I hope that this time all the applicants will be able to receive their grants,” Phungula said. Another resident, Khumbuzile Mzila, applauded the government for providing unemployed South Africans with the Covid-19 relief grant.

Minister Zulu said in a statement: “With regards to regulations on the extension of lapsed disability grants, we are taking proactive measures to protect the livelihoods of the most vulnerable in our society during this difficult period. To this end, we have published the regulations which give effect to the extension of temporary disability grants from the date they were suspended until the end of October this year. This extension applies to all temporary disability grants that lapsed between February and March.

“In cases where the temporary disability grants were suspended, they will be reinstated and paid until the end of October.

The same applies to the Care Dependency and Foster Child Grants that are due to lapse during the lock down period. The payment of these reinstated grants will take place before the end of May. Lockdown regulations relating to the movement of children between co-holders of parental responsibilities or care givers have been amended Zulu said under the new regulations, the movement of children between co-holders of parental responsibilities who reside in different metropolitan areas, district municipalities or provinces is allowed, provided the co-holders of the parental responsibilities or the caregiver has a court order or a parental responsibilities and rights agreement or parenting plan, registered with the Family Advocate; or a permit issued by a magistrate where which corresponds with Form 3 of the regulations if the court order or permit issued by the magistrate is not available.

She added that this will be done on a once-off basis and appealed to all parents and caregivers who share joint custody to be reasonable, to act in good faith and to prioritise the health and safety of their children.

Early Childhood Development (ECD) centres will remain closed in the alert level 4 risk adjusted approach.

Older person’s facilities remain closed during the alert level 4 due to their vulnerability to Covid-19, however we encourage all facilities to ensure the implementation of Covid-19 protocols and work with district health teams for continuous screening and testing.

With regards to Inter-country adoptions, these services are suspended during the state of national disaster.

As Covid-19 pandemic continues crippling the world, the department will be recruiting an additional 1 809 social workers to reinforce the current workforce and to provide a range of social work services, including timely psychosocial interventions to support for affected individuals and families.

THE ALLOCATION OF THE ADDITIONAL SOCIAL WORKERS PER PROVINCE IS AS FOLLOWS:

Eastern Cape: 171

Free State: 92

Gauteng: 676

KwaZulu-Natal: 266

Limpopo: 116

Mpumalanga: 128

Northern Cape: 33

North West: 81

Western Cape: 246

Zulu said: “With regards to the Implementation of Covid-19 Social Relief of Distress Grant – it will be recalled that in my last media briefing I outlined the criteria and payment methods we would use to roll out the Special Covid-19 Social Relief of Distress Grant as announced by President Ramaphosa. We have gone back to re-look at our systems and have strengthened the modus operandi thereof.”

The department has on Monday launched a new application system that will assist the people to apply for the Covid-19 grant.

“As part of the preparations for the full-scale implementation of this grant, we have successfully pilot tested a new contactless application system that will go live immediately after this briefing.

“We have set up a dedicated WhatsApp line, after having tested the concept through the Department of Health’s WhatsApp platform.

Those who have applied through this platform during the testing phase will be processed in line with the set criteria and successful applicants will be notified during the course of this week in order to request additional information for payments.

The amount to be paid to qualifying applications will be R350 per month from May – October 2020. The Special Covid-19 Social Relief of Distress Grant will be implemented in terms of the existing avenue provided for by the SRD channel, which is administered in accordance with the provisions as set in the Social Assistance Act, 2004.

The grant will be available to South African citizens, permanent resident or refugee registered on the Home Affairs system; who are resident within the borders of South Africa.

APPLICANTS MUST BE:

• Above the age of 18

• Unemployed

• Not receiving any income

• Not receiving any social grant

• Not receiving any unemployment insurance benefit and does not qualify to receive unemployment insurance benefits

• Not receiving a stipend from the National Student Financial Aid Scheme; and not resident in a government funded or subsidised institution.

Applicants will need to provide the following compulsory information for processing of their applications:

• Identity Number/Department of Home permit

• Name and surname as captured in the ID (and initials)

Gender and disability;

• Banking details - bank name and account number;

Contact details - Cell phone number

Proof of residential address.

The new WhatsApp line will be 082 0468 553

The USSD or SMS Line will be *134*7737#

The email address will be srd@sassa.gov.za

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