This is how you can apply for the R350 coronavirus social relief distress fund

More than half of South Africa's youth is unemployed.
More than half of South Africa's youth is unemployed.
Image: 123RF Stock

Banking details, proof of residence and identity number will be required for South Africans applying for the monthly R350 coronavirus social relief distress fund.

The government on Wednesday released the criteria to qualify for the monthly unemployment stipend during the lockdown which will be administered by the South African Social Security Agency [Sassa].

This comes after the announcement by President Cyril Ramaphosa last week that  R500bn had been set aside towards assisting South Africans negatively impacted by the lockdown which he said would see an increase in social welfare grants as well as payment to those who are unemployed.

Ramaphosa said for the child grant would be increased by R300 for May, and by an additional R500  for each child caregiver for five months thereafter, an additional R250 towards all other grant recipients and R350 for those not receiving any form of grant or salary.

- All applicants must be above 18 years of age,

- Must be a South African Citizen, Permanent Resident or Refugee registered on the Home Affairs system; who are resident within the borders of the Republic of South Africa;

- must be unemployed, not receiving any form of income, social grant, unemployment insurance benefits or stipend from the National Student Financial Aid Scheme [NSFAS], among others.

Applicants must then provide, through various channels including an SMS line, WhatApp number 0600 123 456 and an e-mail address , their details including proof of residential address, contact details, banking details, gender or disability, if any, full names and identity number.

The monthly benefit is expected to stay in place starting in mid-May until the end of October.

According to social development minister Lindiwe Zulu, the sooner people apply the sooner they can get their money.

“The benefit/grant will be paid from the date of approval up to the end of October 2020 provided the qualifying criteria listed continues to be met. So, if applicants apply in June their payments will be from June and there will be no backpay,” Zulu said on Wednesday.

“It is important for the applicant to note that by virtue of application, all applicants grant consent to Sassa to verify their residency, sources of income and/or social security benefits with government departments and financial institutions. All ID/ permits will be cross checked against other data sources. False applications will give rise to possible prosecution.”

She said that those who do not have access to technology would be assisted by volunteers who will go around with mobile gadgets capturing applicants’ details.

In relation to food parcels, Zulu said they each cost R1,200 with consistent content which provided sufficient nutritional value.

She said that they were also looking into replacing these with vouchers which would allow recipients to purchase their own food.

“That is a system that we really need to make sure that we work thoroughly on because consideration also has to be where are they going to be buying with those food vouchers," Zulu said.

“Are they going to be going back again to the same old big companies, are the beneficiaries going to be forced yet again to travel long distances to go and get the food or are we going to use a system where the vouchers can be used within the communities? Hence the importance of improving your spaza shops,” she said.​