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Applicants urged to appeal rejected R350 claims

The South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) has urged people to send through their appeals after experiencing an increased number of rejected applications for the R350 COVID-19 grant.

According to the agency, this is attributed to several factors such as incorrect details provided by South Africans who were applying for the grant and information received from institutions such as the Unemployment Insurance Fund and South African Revenue Service databases.

Meanwhile, SASSA said it saw another spike in declined applications in August after it introduced an additional step in the form of a means test.

“This was done to ensure that the requirement for applicants to have no income was met,” SASSA explained.

However, following engagement with the Department of Social Development, parties agreed to reconsider the use of the means test through the banks as a criterion to determine eligibility.

“This will affect the approximately 1.9 million people, who have been receiving the grant to date but who were declined in August,” SASSA said.

An Auditor-General report recently identified about
30 000 undeserving applicants, who received the grant while not meeting the qualifying criteria. 

“In response to this finding, SASSA reviewed and strengthened its controls with regard to the evaluation of applications,” the agency said.

SASSA said applications are now considered on their merits on a month-to-month basis, meaning that an application can be approved for one month and rejected the following month if, for instance, their financial situation changed.

“This has become more prevalent with the lockdown levels easing, allowing for some sectors of the economy to return to work, and thus reducing the number of severely distressed citizens.”

However, despite the reduced levels of lockdown, SASSA said it was cognisant that the pandemic had taken its toll and many people were still without an income.

“All applicants whose applications are declined have the right to appeal against the decision," SASSA said, adding that it is currently dealing with about 60 000 appeals.

SASSA is encouraging  people to send their appeals to covid19srdappeals@sassa.gov.za. – SAnews.gov.za