Planning to apply for the R350 grant? Here's 6 things you need to know before you do

The R350 distress social grant has been reinstated for the next seven months. File photo.
The R350 distress social grant has been reinstated for the next seven months. File photo.
Image: South African Gov‏ via Twitter

The R350 distress social grant has been reinstated for the next seven months. 

The reinstatement was announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa during his address to the nation on Sunday. 

The grant will be paid monthly until the end of March 2022.

Here are six things you need to know.

Who qualifies for the grant? 

According to the department of social development, the grant is “intended for persons in dire material need that are unable to meet their families’ most basic needs”.

This could be due to any of the following circumstances:

  • You need help while you wait for your children’s grants to be processed
  • A crisis or disaster has occurred (for example your house has burnt down)
  • You do not qualify for a grant, and you are in a desperate situation 
  • You are unable to work for a period of less than six months because you are medically unfit 
  • You are unable to get maintenance from the other parent of your child or children 
  • The breadwinner in the family has died 
  • The breadwinner has been sent to prison for a short time (less than six months)
  • You have been affected by a disaster, but the area or community in which you live has not been declared a disaster area.

The grant has also been expanded to include unemployed caregivers who currently receive a child support grant. 

“We are expanding the number of people who are eligible for this grant by allowing unemployed caregivers who currently receive a child support grant to apply,” said Ramaphosa. 

What do I get?

The social relief of distress grant may be in the form of a food parcel or a voucher to buy food. 

In some provinces, those eligible for this grant get assistance in the form of cash.

How long will I get it for?

Social relief of distress is given for a short time only — usually for up to three months, which may be extended for another three months.

How can I apply for the grant?

According to social development minister Lindiwe Zulu, people who are eligible to receive the R350 grant are required to start the application process from scratch. 

To apply, eligible applicants must submit their application forms at the SA Social Security Agency (Sassa) office with a 13-digit bar-coded identity document or an affidavit if an identity document is not available. 

You will also need to show proof that they have applied for a grant, proof that you are in need, provide banking details, contact details and proof of residence. 

“No applications for the special grant will be made via telephone, email or USSD,” warned Sassa.

How long does the process take?

Zulu told eNCA that the process can take time due to the number of applications submitted. 

Once an application is submitted, it will be assessed for credibility and whether the applicant has a genuine need for the service. 

According to the department, even if applicants do not have all the documents, those eligible will get their first month’s food parcel, voucher or cash.

“Remember to take all the documents to the officer before the second month’s payment is due. If you do not, you may not get your second and third month’s food parcel, voucher or cash,” it said.  

Is there back pay?

The grant will be paid from the date of approval up to when it ends, provided the qualifying criteria listed continue to be met.

This means if applicants apply in September, their payments will be from September and there will be no back pay for the months not applied for. 

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