Criteria for R350 grant to be further eased, says Zulu – News24

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Friday, 09 December
15 Jul
Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu has made further changes to the draft regulations to qualify for the R350 social relief of distress grant to include more people in the net. 

Since the latest iteration of the grant started on 1 April, 11.3 million people applied but only 5.2 million people qualified. This is compared to 10.5 million people in the grant’s last iteration where the qualification criteria were far less onerous. 
The new version of the grant introduced a lower means test of R350 compared to R624 in the last version. This meant that anyone with income of more than R350 a month, even if it was support from a family member, did not qualify for the grant. The new iteration also cross-checked all applicants against the banking system, which was not done before. This is what led to the high number of disqualifications. 
READ | Payment starts for new R350 grant – but more than half of applicants didn’t qualify
Last week Zulu said that the means test would be raised back up to R624, which is the food poverty line. On Thursday, the department said it proposed that although the cross-check against the banking system would still be applied, it would not be the central determinant of whether a person could get a grant. 
The requirement that applicants reapply every three months would also be dropped.
The draft regulations are available for comment after which they will be gazetted.

The new website for appeals is https://srd.dsd.gov.za
Although the new iteration of the grant was supposed to be seamlessly introduced from 1 April, the changes to the qualifying criteria stalled payments. No one has yet been paid for April or May and around half of the applicants were paid in June. Government has committed to back-paying everybody.
“The department extends sincere apologies for the long delay in assessing the April and May applications and we are doing everything in our power to fast-track the assessments, especially, the bank verification processes that are currently required by the regulations,” it said in a statement. 

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