New R350 unemployment grants will use WhatsApp for registration – and first tests have been completed

Sassa grant registration over WhatsApp: coming soo

As from May 2020 disability and Older Persons Grants will be paid from the 4th day of the month. All other grants will be paid from the 6th of every month.

Grant recipients are required to carry their Identity Documents and South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) cards when travelling on public transport, to assist law enforcement efforts. (

Grants will be paid. There is no need to withdraw all the cash at once, or to go to points where large numbers of people congregate. Once the grant money is in the account, it will remain there, regardless of when it is accessed.

Older persons and persons with disabilities should be given preference. Their grants will be available on 30 and 31 March. All others can access their grants from 1 April.

Social Relief of Distress grants

Applications for the R350 SASSA Social relief of distress grants are now open.

Applicants must be:
– Above the age of 18;
– Unemployed;
– Not receiving any income;
– Not receiving any social grant;
– Not receiving any unemployment insurance benefit and does not qualify to receive unemployment insurance benefits;
– Not receiving a stipend from the National Student Financial Aid Scheme; and
– Not resident in a government funded or subsidised institution.

Prospective Applicants will need to provide the following compulsory information for processing of their applications:

– Identity Number;
– Name and Surname as captured in the ID (and initials);
– Gender and Disability;
– Banking details – Bank Name and Account Number;
– Contact details – Cell phone number;
– Proof of Residential Address;

In terms of Application process, an application for social relief of distress or a social grant may be lodged electronically over and above any other available means of lodging such applications. The measures applicable include sending a WhatsApp message to 0600 123 456 and selecting SASSA or an E-mail to We are still finalising additional access channels and including SMS, self-help desks and online application process.

Additional measures (

  • Child support grant beneficiaries will receive an extra R300 in May and from June to October they will receive an additional R500 each month.
  • All other grant beneficiaries will receive an extra R250 per month for the next six months.
  • In addition, a special Covid-19 Social Relief of Distress grant of R350 a month for the next 6 months will be paid to individuals who are currently unemployed and do not receive any other form of social grant or UIF payment. (The Department of Social Development will issue the requirements needed to access and apply for this funding.)
  • The South African Social Security Agency – SASSA – will implement a technology-based solution to roll out food assistance at scale through vouchers and cash transfers to ensure that help reaches those who need it faster and more efficiently.
  • In addition, the Department of Social Development has partnered with the Solidarity Fund, NGOs and community-based organisations to distribute 250,000 food parcels across the country over the next two weeks.

Social grant payments through bank ATMs and retail outlets

Confirmation was received from Banking Association of South Africa (BASA) that banks are ready for the payment cycle. ATMs will be restocked in time for the payment cycle which starts on 30 March.

Banks will also carry messaging reminding customers of priority for older persons and persons with disability.

Retail outlets have confirmed readiness. List of high volume stores just received and will be shared with NATJOC to assist SANDF and SAPS with support planning. Retailers confirmed their own containment measures:

Social grant payments at cash pay points

  • SASSA will deploy at least one manager to each pay point to assist with queue management and to attend to enquiries – staff will have protective gear (masks and gloves) and carry hand sanitizer
  • SAPO has committed to having hand sanitizer for all clients – will be sanitized just prior to joining short queue for payment
  • Access to pay points will be limited to control social distancing
  • SAPO staff to be equipped with masks and gloves
  • Security staff will be equipped with masks and gloves
  • PostBank call centre (available 24/7) on 0800 53 54 55 to deal with concerns and complaints related to SASSA/SAPO cards – card replacement, PIN resets and non-payment

Call Centre

  • SASSA call centre (0800 60 10 11) will be available, although there may be reduced capacity.
  • Call centre available working hours only
  • Link to Postbank call centre for SASSA/SAPO card related enquiries

Social relief of distress food parcels

SASSA will issue Social Relief of Distress (SRD) in the form of food parcels as a temporary provision of assistance intended for persons in such dire need that they are unable to meet their or their families’ most basic needs. SRD is paid to South African citizens, permanent residents or refugees who have insufficient means.  This is the criteria for those who can qualify:

  • Those receiving temporary disability grants that lapsed in March 2020;
  • Those who have had disasters in their communities such as floods and fires as defined in the Disaster Management Act, 1978;
  • If a breadwinner in the family has passed on and application is made within 12 months of date of death;
  • If everyone in a household is unemployed and needs government assistance in the form of food parcels;
  • Child headed household;
  • If you cannot work for medical reasons for a period of six months

Grant amounts have increased as from 1 April :

  • Grants for older persons and disability grants increase to R1 860
  • Grants for war veterans and older persons older than 75 years increase to R1 880
  • Foster child grants increase to R1 040 per child
  • Care dependency grants increase to R1 860
  • Child support grants increase to R440 per child

7. Temporary disability grants that expired in March 2020

SASSA has provided a solution to temporary disability grants which lapsed or expired in March 2020 resulting in some beneficiaries not being paid.

In order to deal with this unintended consequence of the lockdown, SASSA is providing social relief of distress in the form of food parcels to beneficiaries whose disability grants expired in April 2020 as an interim measure to cushion the impact of the termination of the grant benefit.

Hawks bar Bushiri from donating food parcels


2 comments on “New R350 unemployment grants will use WhatsApp for registration – and first tests have been completed

  1. […] In response to the department’s request for assistance, SARS has sent a team to work with the UIF … […]

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