Means test for R350 grant: Govt hikes maximum income level

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  • The means test for the Social Relief of Distress grant has been raised from R350 to R624.
  • Criteria were eased after a large number of applicants were disqualified.
  • The new regulations were gazetted on Tuesday.
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Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu on Tuesday made final her proposal to raise the means test for the Social Relief of Distress (SRD) grant to R624 a month. 

This means that anyone with a monthly income of more than R624 a month – which is the food poverty line – will not qualify for the grant. The maximum income level to qualify was set at R350 from 1 April, which caused large numbers of applicants to be disqualified. The new regulations were gazetted on Tuesday. 

The SRD has been in place intermittently since May 2020, at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. At first, all applicants with an income below R624 qualified with a total of 10.5 million people receiving the grant regularly. However, since the means test was dropped on 1 April less than 50% of applicants were successful, leading to 5.2 million people qualifying. 

READ| Criteria for R350 grant to be further eased, says Zulu

In response to pressure from pro-poor civil society and advocacy groups, Zulu announced a month ago that she intended to ease the criteria. The SA Social Security Agency of SA (Sassa), which administers the grant, also dropped an onerous condition that required bank pre-qualification, verifying income flows into bank accounts. 

The agency has not released an updated report on the number of successful applicants. 

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