South African Government

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SASSA on applications received for special Coronavirus COVID-19 Social Relief of Distress Grant

14 May 2020

SASSA receives a record number of applications for the special COVID-19 Social Relief of Distress Grant

More than 3, 5 million people have applied for the new special COVID-19 Social Relief of Distress (SRD) Grant within three days of the system going live.

The South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) started taking nationwide applications for the grant on Monday, 11 May 2020. As of today, 3 585 040 applications were received. Of this, the largest number of 2 394 949 applications were made using the USSD (SMS) line, 204 434 on the website, 485 657 on WhatsApp and 500 00 were on email. 

The applications are currently being assessed and verified. Those eligible will be notified and will start to receive their first payment of the 6-month Special Covid19 SRD Grant of R350 by Friday – 15 May. 

The grant is implemented in terms of the existing avenue provided for by the SRD channel, which is administered in accordance with the provisions as set in the Social Assistance Act, 2004. 

The Department wishes to stress that the first payment file was meant for testing. When the payment system is finalised more regular payments will be made.

Once an application has been approved, Sassa will ask for banking details. Those who have not been asked for banking details must know that they are not going to be paid tomorrow.

We appeal to people to wait to be contacted and not visit Sassa offices.

“The special COVID-19 SRD Grant is intended to mitigate the undue hardships faced by individuals and families through this difficult time. We are pleased with the intake so far and we urge all eligible individuals to apply on time,” said Minister of Social Development, Ms Lindiwe Zulu.

“Once again, we appeal to those already receiving social grants not to apply as they are not eligible for the Special Covid-19 SRD Grant. It is only meant to benefit persons who are currently not receiving any form of income support from government,” added Minister Zulu.

People can apply in one of three ways:

  • WhatsApp line: 082 046 8553
  • USSD or SMS line: *134*7737#
  • Online:

An applicant must be a South African Citizen, Permanent Resident or Refugee who is registered on the Home Affairs system and is a resident within the borders of the Republic of South Africa.

“To ensure that the information system is not clogged, we appeal to all applicants not to upload any form of documentation on the application,” concluded Minister Zulu.

The Department will continuously share information on developments across all platforms.

Media enquiries may be forwarded to Ms Lumka Oliphant on 083 484 8067 or e-mail:  / Mr Paseka Letsatsi on 082 883 9969 or

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