The new Social Disaster Relief (SDR) rules introduce more checks and balances to ensure that those who qualify for the grant get it, rather than those who don’t.

At a recent standing committee on health and social services on Tuesday (August 23), the Department of Social Development and the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) met to announce the grant and its intervention.

Brenton van Wrede, chief executive of the Department of Social Development, said in a presentation to parliament that a new condition had been added to the rules governing the grant.

He said the condition required clients not to “unreasonably refuse” employment or education if offered.

Sassa is committed to continuing to improve and develop its data collection services to ensure that applicants are properly vetted before they receive assistance.

Applicant registration questions can help determine an applicant’s work and education history. Some of the questions include:

  • When was the applicant last employed;
  • As the applicant normally supports himself, and;
  • Is the applicant employed, receives other forms of income, etc.

Sasa is in the process of entering into a memorandum of understanding with the Department of Public Works as well as the Ministry of Employment and Labor to facilitate data sharing between the parties, van Vrede said.

Along with the new conditions, after checking the applicant’s bank status to see if it does not exceed the threshold applicable to the grant, a new requirement has been introduced to ensure continuous verification by the applicant.

Under the new provision, van Wrede said, the applicant must confirm every three months whether they need the grant.

He said this was done so that Sassa could capture changes in a customer’s status that might be missed by infrequent data checks.

“This will encourage more engagement between the client and Sassa, and by default the client will be ‘no grant required’ unless they renew every three months.”

According to Sasa, as of August 2, 11.8 million South Africans had applied for the grant, of which 4.7 million had been paid.

Earlier this month (August 16), the Department of Social Development published changes to the rules governing the payment of the subsidy.

The department raised the means test income threshold from 350 rand to the food poverty line of 624 rand per month.

However, the welfare grant faced a backlash from both business leaders and governments, who saw it as unsustainable and unaffordable.

Previously, the grant was not available to those receiving or earning more than 350 rand per month. This threshold has been moved to R624 with a revised adjustment and more people are now eligible.

Who is applying?

The Department of Social Development, based on data obtained in collaboration with Sassa, said that many of the applicants have different ways of meeting their monthly basic needs.

According to van Vrede, the majority of South Africans who applied for the scholarship, approximately 5.1 million, rely on the support of a family member within the household (43%) or a family member outside the household (13 %, 1.5%). million people).

Other methods include loans from friends, casual work, informal lenders, the social grant itself, savings or paid work.

In terms of employment, the majority of grant applicants are unemployed South Africans who are actively looking for work (54%), followed by self-employed individuals (11%).

Alternative ways of doing daily activities include being an unpaid intern in the family business, taking care of children at home, helping family members with their business without pay, or studying.

Van Vrede said that applicants who receive the grant are mainly used to buy food, electricity, clothing and transportation. 80% believe that despite the small grant, it has made a positive difference in their lives.

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