R350 Grant Should See Bigger Changes - Civil Group

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A recent gazette by the Minister of Social Development could mean that more people qualify for the R350 grant. However, a civil organisation says while they welcome the move, more needs to be done to support vulnerable people living in the country.


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Minister of Social Development Lindiwe Zulu has gazetted a proposal that could see more people benefit from the R350 grant. The proposal would see the grant income threshold increased from R350 to the country’s food poverty line which stands at R624.

The South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) anticipated a budget shortfall if the income threshold remained at R595. This led Sassa to lower the income threshold to R350. However, only around 5.8 million people were receiving the grant.

This meant that only half of the people who previously received the grant would receive it under the current income threshold. The department believes that lifting the income threshold to R624 will result in more people receiving the grant.

Civil group, Blacksash, says while they welcome the move, more needs to be done to support vulnerable people living in the country. This as the R350 grant is a temporary relief mechanism and is set to come to an end in March 2023.

The group wants a permanent social assistance grant for people aged between 18 and 59 years old. They also want the value of this grant to be equal to the upper bound poverty line which currently stands at R1,335.

We acknowledge the effort made by DSD for more to qualify for the grant, but submit that the income threshold should be R1335

The group wants this grant to be extended to include Caregivers, who receive the Child Support Grant, refugees, permanent residents, asylum seekers and migrant workers with special permits

Blacksash is calling for the improvement of administrative processes as beneficiaries are experiencing challenges.  

“There are administration challenges including pending statuses; approved with no Pay dates; approved with pay dates but no money available at retailers, and challenges with the South African Post Office. We are concerned about the appeal and reconsideration process and lack of communication with applicants,” said the group

This along with delayed payments means that vulnerable individuals are having to wait extended periods for access to money. April and May SRD grant payments were not made in the respective months with May payments only set to be processed this month.

 

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