The Special Covid-19 R350 Social Relief of Distress grant has been reintroduced by SASSA and many people are concerned about how smoothly the application process will run this time around. Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu addresses these concerns.
The Special Covid-19 R350 Social Relief of Distress (SRD) grant was introduced in 2020 when the Covid-19 pandemic first hit South Africa, in order to assist those between the ages of 18-65 who had lost their jobs or were unable to secure jobs during that time.
In 2020 applicants of the grant had experienced many issues with the application process as there were many components to consider when applying. This caused delays in the distribution of grants to the people who needed it most.
One component which especially caused confusion and delays was the IRP5 document which reflected that people were still employed even though that was no longer the case for many. Many applicants were rejected due to being IRP5 registered which “means that the system has picked up an alternative income from your details” according to SASSA. This means that the system thinks that the person is still employed.
The IRP5 document is also known as an employee’s tax certificate which outlines the employer/employee’s related incomes, taxes and the related deductions at the end of each year.
Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu says that this will remain an issue if people are still on an employment list when applying for the R350 SRD grant.
“It becomes difficult for us to know whether that person is working or not working,” says Minister Zulu.
She says that SASSA will be working to improve its system so that this can be avoided in future. The issue of data that is not being cleaned and transferred to other departments is what contributes to the problem of being “IRP5 registered” says the Minister.
“We are going to be engaging especially at local government to say they need to clean their data, because if people haven’t been working that long and they’re not receiving any other pension from the government they do need to apply,” said the Minister.
She says that it is important that SASSA is sure that people are not receiving another income and applying for the R350 grant otherwise they will experience the same issue they did last year when government workers also applied, when they were not supposed to.
“We can only approve them once they are not the system because then if you do then you’ll end up paying people who are working in government.”-Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu.
People may resolve the issue of being IRP5 registered by contacting SARS and having their documents updated. SARS may require additional paperwork from the applicant’s previous employer.
They may then appeal their application with SASSA once this has been updated.
Another concern people have is whether SASSA has the capacity to process the high volumes of applications as this has previously caused delays.
“We do have the capacity to process these applications,” says the Minister.
She says that SASSA has been working to improve their systems in order to process all of the applications.
Zulu says that it is often not the processing of applications causing the delays but rather the way people have been applying and submitting their information. She says that people who have applied on the three different platforms will experience issues because this confuses the system. She urges applicants to only make use of one platform to apply.
“Where we normally get problems is when people don’t fill in the information properly and when people also have to go to the post office to get their money, that’s where the delays are. In the application process we don’t really face that much problems, that process goes very quick.”-Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu.
Click here for information on how to apply for the R350 SRD grant.
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