The South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) has recorded just under 12 million applicants for the Covid-19 Social Relief of Distress (SRD) grant in August.

This follows the publishing of amended regulations by the Department of Social Development that included the increasing of the income threshold for the means test from R350 to R625.

This means that applicants who have an inflow of funds in their bank accounts of less than R624 (for that particular month) qualify to receive the grant with effect from August 2022.

Changes were made to regulations after a low number of approved applications for the Covid-19 Social Relief of Distress (SRD) caused concern for both the Department of Social Development and Sassa.

There was also a public outcry regarding some of the regulations, which were deemed to be unlawful and to unfairly exclude some of the potential applicants, said Sassa.

“Sassa welcomes this new development, and the agency is hopeful that a greater number of qualifying applicants will now have access to this grant.”

The agency experienced slight delays and challenges with assessments for the month of July 2022, owing to the previous regulations requiring people to reconfirm their grants every three months. Consequently, a low number of people re-confirmed their grants. However, since the new regulations have been published, the July assessments will soon be concluded.

“We are still having challenges with some payments wherein some applicants have not provided us with their banking details. We encourage all applicants to provide us with their correct bank details so that we can timeously facilitate their grant payments,” said Social Development minister Lindiwe Zulu.

Sassa noted that the payment amount of the Covid-19 SRD remains R350 per person for each month they qualify for.

On top of extending the income threshold, the government has implemented further checks and balances to ensure that those who qualify for the grant receive it over those who do not.

Brenton van Vrede, the chief director of the Department of Social Developments, said in a presentation to Parliament that a new condition has been added to the regulations making it require clients not to ‘unreasonably refuse’ to accept employment or educational opportunities if offered.

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