As a result of these delays, 5% to 10% of the R350 grant beneficiaries have not received their grant payments since May 2022. Many of these people regularly complete a R350 grant status check in the hopes of receiving their money.
To remedy this, the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) has been paying these delayed grant payments after each month when the usual monthly 350 grants have been made.
According to Sassa, the agency’s average payment percentage since May 2022 has been close to 90% to 95% of beneficiaries who’ve been paid each month.
Sassa has pointed out that some payments could not be made or approved for several reasons.
The reasons behind the delayed R350 payment are multi-faceted, ranging from verification delays to the submission of incorrect details by the applicant. Let's go over them in more detail.
Payment details have changed and the new account is pending bank account verification
Once beneficiaries have submitted their new accounts to Sassa, these are sent to the Department of National Treasury for account verification, which then sends them to banks for further verification.
The response time from banks through National Treasury is 3 to 5 days, while some banks take longer due to their internal verification control.
Sassa re-extracts unverified accounts every 5 days and resends them to National Treasury for account verification.
Referred cases are accepted applications that were unable to be paid because identification verification was problematic. For instance, the applicant's ID number has been misused for illegal purposes, such as identity theft.
A link will be sent via SMS to this cohort of beneficiaries whose cases have been forwarded, and they must click on it to verify their identity.
Payments returned by the bank due to challenges with the bank account (EF70)
The three most frequent reasons for this are that the bank account may have been closed, it may not accept credits, or it may be pending FICA.
When this happens, the bank must be contacted to rectify the issue before the affected beneficiaries can upload their accounts again or open new ones.
This happens in approximately 0,15% of the total approved applications each month.
There are currently 350,000 Sassa 350 grant recipients awaiting payment from CashSend services since August 2022. To revive this payment channel, procurement procedures are nearing their conclusion.
At first, this method was used to pay for more than 500,000 applications. This number has been reduced, as a result of the subsequent measures by the agency.
Beneficiaries responded to the SMS notifications by uploading their own bank account information. Collaborations with several banks help during the procurement procedure.
Over 100,000 beneficiaries were paid each month using this approach (for the period of August 2022 through December 2022). Additional payments were reportedly paid in February 2023 for January and February 2023, as well as those still remaining from August 2022.
Beneficiaries of the Sassa R350 grant who opted for payment through this channel total 489,837. Most of these grant recipients choose the Postbank payment option after not receiving a grant before April 2022.
Postbank is unable to complete FICA operations, which is a banking requirement that Sassa is required to follow, with the new payment method through retailers, which was introduced in April 2022.
Sassa must ensure that the account holder's identification is verified. The development of a new solution is currently nearing completion, and it needs to be put into use as soon as possible.