Govt to pay R350 Covid-19 distress grant from mid-May: Here is who can apply

(Yawar Nazir/Getty Images)
(Yawar Nazir/Getty Images)

The details of the R350 grant to help unemployed people not receiving any form of subsidy or grant during Covid-19 were revealed on Wednesday. 

Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu said a social relief distress grant would be paid between May to October.

It will be open to South Africans, refugees and permanent residents already in the Department of Home Affairs' system and those residing within the borders of South Africa.

To apply you must be: 

- Over 18. 

- Unemployed. 

- Have no income. 

- Have no existing social grant. 

- No Unemployment Insurance Fund and do not qualify for it. 

- Not receiving a stipend from the National Student Financial Aid Scheme.

- Not be living in a government-funded or subsidised institution.

The documents required are IDs issued by the department containing the name, surname and gender of the person holding the ID as well as a bank account number, bank name and proof of address.


The department is still working on developing a system to pay those without bank accounts.

Applications for the social relief of distress grant can be made through 0600 123456, select SASSA, or email

The department is still finalising an SMS, self-help and online service, and expects the first payments to be made from 15 May.

These measures will come into effect in the next few days when the regulations are finalised.

Food parcels

Meanwhile, Zulu said the government was also distributing food parcels to the value of R700 per household to more than 58 000 households, or close to 250 000 people, via a "knock-and-drop" system, using its existing community nutrition centre network.

She has asked the private sector, which is helping to provide food, to work with communities to help those who need it the most.

"We also don't want to just be a government or society of food parcels," Zulu said of the temporary measure.

She added the R500 billion relief package announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa would assist 163 shelters, which accommodates 14 000 homeless people countrywide, during the Covid-19 crisis.

Zulu said some people at these shelters were learning soft skills while they waited out the lockdown.

Child support

Meanwhile, the R300 increase for the child support grant is set to be paid once-off only in May, per child, and then between June and October, while R500 will be paid to the caregiver of the children.

The amount per child will be reduced to R440 per month from June. 

All existing caregivers will automatically qualify and will receive this benefit along with the existing child support grant.

Zulu said the department was cognisant of the fact the child support grant was below the poverty line and it would discuss ways of increasing it in the future.

Other existing social grants will be increased by R250 per month from May until October.

Payment dates have been set for the elderly and people with disabilities: they will paid be on the third of every month, or the nearest working day. This means that for May they can start collecting their grants from 4 May, since 3 May falls on a weekend.

Meanwhile, Human Settlements Lindiwe Sisulu reiterated evictions and land invasions were not allowed.

She said people who were piggy-backing on a ruling allowing existing residents of eMolweni in Cape Town to rebuild their shacks would be removed in due course.

The department has committed itself to provide 14 242 living units for families in Gauteng "within the next month or so" as well as 18 474 in the Eastern Cape.

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