Many SRD Grant Beneficiaries Saw Sassa Status Change To ‘Sassa referred’, Here’s Why

sassa referred

Roughly 7.5 million people throughout the country depend on Sassa’s Social Relief of Distress grant. The SRD grant has not come without it’s hiccups as beneficiaries are now seeing changes which have them confused.

The South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) introduced these new regulations to ensure that only eligible individuals are able to access the SRD grant. However, it appears that some beneficiaries are yet to receive their Sassa grant payments according to Pay The Grants, an organisation advocating for the interests of SRD grant beneficiaries. 

The movement says that continued red tape has had a negative effect on some SRD grant recipients whose grant payments have been delayed since February.

Pay The Grants deputy chairperson Elizabeth Raiters explains that when they enquired about the issue, Sassa informed them that there has been an increase in the number of applications that have been flagged for fraud over the past two months. 

Sassa has explained the list that came back with all the new identity numbers that have been flagged for fraud is much higher in the last two months and they don’t have any answer to why. 

She adds that this has affected previous beneficiaries whose applications have been approved since February, April and May. These beneficiaries’ application statuses have since been changed to “referred” without any explanation from the agency.

The Meaning Of A ‘Sassa Referred’ SRD Grant Application Status 

A ‘sassa referred’ status means that your application has been randomly selected for an internal verification and quality assurance. This is often the case when Sassa suspects fraud on the part of the beneficiary.

Raiters goes on to say that Sassa should be able to differentiate between actual and fraudulent applicants since they already have the list of their I.D numbers. 

Beneficiaries also experience challenges in reaching Sassa’s call centre when they try to access Sassa’s biometric verification feature to have their application status changed back to ‘Approved’. Sassa has also been criticised for operating the SRD grant entirely online despite knowing that most beneficiaries do not have access to the internet or smartphone. 

Additional Challenges Faced By Beneficiaries

Beneficiaries who are assisted by family members while they wait for Sassa to complete the verification process end up being declined for having an alternative source of income under the criteria of the means test.

Pay The Grants also confirmed that the Independent Tribunal for Social Assistance Appeals (ITSAA) has not approved any application appeals since March during the previous cycle of the SRD grant.

The organisation has also offered to help the agency with attending to beneficiaries through regular workshops in collaboration with other Non-government organisations (NGO’s). Raiters has said that, with its current system in place,  Sassa does not seem to be well-positioned to implement a Basic Income Grant. 

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