• The means test for the Victim Welfare Grant has been increased from R350 to R624.
  • The criteria were relaxed after a large number of applicants were disqualified.
  • The new rules were published on Tuesday.
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Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu on Tuesday made a final proposal to increase the means test for the Social Disaster Relief (SRD) grant to R624 a month.

This means that anyone with a monthly income of more than 624 rand per month – which is the food poverty line – will not qualify for the grant. From 1 April, the maximum income level for participation in the program was set at 350 rand, which resulted in the disqualification of a large number of applicants. The new rules were published on Tuesday.

The SRD has been operating intermittently since May 2020, at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. Initially, all applicants with an income below 624 rand were eligible, with a total of 10.5 million people regularly receiving the grant. However, since the means test was abolished on April 1, less than 50% of applicants were successful, resulting in a shortfall of 5.2 million.

READ| The criteria for the 350 rand grant will be further relaxed, says Zulu

In response to pressure from civil society and pro-poor rights groups, Zulu announced a month ago that it intended to relax the criteria. The South African Social Security Agency (Sassa), which administers the grant, also waived the onerous condition that required the bank to pre-qualify by verifying income streams into bank accounts.

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

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