how-access-covid-19-grant south africa
Minister Lindiwe Zulu. Photo:

The South African government has outlined the process for the application of the COVID-19 Social Relief of Distress Grant for individuals who are currently unemployed.

Addressing a media briefing on Wednesday in Pretoria, Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu said the qualifying applicants will be paid R350 per month from May – October 2020.

The grant forms part of the R500 billion economic and social relief measures announced by the President last week, as part of the national response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The social relief may be provided to South African citizens, permanent residents and refugees who have been affected by a disaster.

This framework is currently administered through the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) – however with limitations.

“The system will go live immediately when the regulations are published and we envisage to start making payments by the 15th of May 2020. Those who have applied during the trial run will be contacted to provide further information,” the Minister said.

Qualifying criteria

The qualifying criteria for the special COVID-19 Social Relief of Distress of R350 per month for distressed individuals is as follows:

1. The grant will be available to South African Citizens, Permanent Residents or Refugees registered on the Home Affairs system; who are resident within the borders of the Republic of South Africa;

2. Applicants must be:

✓ Above the age of 18;

✓ Unemployed;

✓ Not receiving any income;

✓ Not receiving any social grant;

✓ Not receiving any unemployment insurance benefit and does not qualify to receive unemployment insurance benefits;

✓ Not receiving a stipend from the National Student Financial Aid Scheme; and

✓ Not a resident in a government funded or subsidised institution.

Prospective Applicants will need to provide the following compulsory information for processing of their applications:

✓ Identity Number/Department of Home permit;

✓ Name and Surname as captured in the ID (and initials);

✓ Gender and Disability;

✓ Banking details – Bank Name and Account Number;

✓ Contact details – Cell phone number;

✓ Proof of Residential Address;

Application process

An application for social relief of distress or a social grant may be lodged electronically over and above any other available means of lodging such applications.

The measures applicable include sending a WhatsApp message to 0600 123 456 and selecting SASSA or an E-mail to

Payment of grant

Payment of the grant will be made mainly through bank accounts of the applicants and through cash send measures through banks.

“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 back pay,” the Minister said.

Applicants should 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; including – all ID/ Permits will be cross checked against other data sources.

“False applications will give rise to possible prosecution,” the Minister said. –