Sassa explains the high rejection rate for a grant of R350
Curated by Carol Paton of Fin24
While 11.3 million people applied for the R350 grant, only 5.2 million were successful. Stricter qualification criteria have been applied, including cross-checking of bank details. Social Development Minister Lindiwe Sisulu is now considering increasing the means test.
The SA Social Security Agency (Sassa) says the high number of rejections for the R350 emergency social assistance (SRD) grant is because it has “refined qualification criteria” to reach those most in need.
Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu set the income test at R350 per month, meaning that anyone with a higher income, including support from a family member, could not qualify for the subsidy. It also applied stricter screening of applications, including checking bank accounts. The intent of the new approach was to target the very poor, rather than the unemployed in general.
In response to questions, Sassa said on Wednesday that “the eligibility criteria have been refined by adding the requirement that the applicants must have insufficient funds. This means that the main qualification criterion is not only that the applicant must be unemployed and meet the legal criteria, but that the applicant’s financial support is assessed”.
This is done by means of a power of attorney test, which takes into account any inflow into the applicant’s bank account.
“The additional measure is intended to exclude married applicants who employ spouses who are able to support them financially, or full-time students or students whose parents are in a financial position to support them if they are not supported by NSFAS .”
Last week, Zulu published a draft regulation to raise the income test to R624, the level of the food poverty line.
Since the last iteration of the grant kicked off on April 1, there have been 11.3 million applicants. But only 5.2 million people qualified. This is compared to 10.5 million people in the last iteration of the grant where a higher income threshold of R624 was applied.
Sassa said that due to the low approval rate, talks have been held with the Ministry of Social Development to reconsider the R350 threshold. With the threshold being applied at this scale for the first time, projections had indicated that approximately eight million applicants would be eligible. The result, with only 46% of applicants approved, suggests that the R350 threshold may be too low, excluding many people who should receive the aid.
Sassa said that if the draft rules are accepted, the threshold of R624 will be implemented in the future.
You can also check > THE DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT PROPOSED TO INCREASE THE THRESHOLD OF R350 SASSA SUBSIDY TO R624 PER MONTH