Here's how to apply for the R350 Covid-19 grant

Business Insider SA
lindiwe zulu, social development
Minister of Social Development, Lindiwe Zulu. Photo: GCIS
  • Applications for the special Social Relief of Distress (SRD) grant during Covid-19 are now supposed to be open.
  • The first R350 payment is due on Friday, for some applicants.
  • Payments are expected to continue monthly until October 
  • WhatsApp, email and SMS applications will be accepted – in theory.
  • As of Monday late afternoon Business Insider has had no luck with any of these options.
  • No applications will be accepted at Sassa offices.
  • There will be no backpay for late applicants. 
  • For more stories, go to

On Monday, government launched the registration process for the temporary R350-a-month unemployment grant during the Covid-19 crisis – in theory.

There are three options to apply: 

  • WhatsApp message to 082 046 8553
  • Email to, which automatically sends back a form to fill in
  • A USSD code, by dialling *134*7737# from a cellphone

See also: A new cellphone number may mean trouble: What we just learnt about the R350 Covid-19 grant

On Sunday morning, an email to returned an electronic form, which applicants have to fill out and email back.

An excerpt from the application form that can be accessed via email.

But on Monday, none of the three advertised options appeared to be fully functional, on repeated attempts to test them by Business Insider South Africa.

Manual applications will not be done at SA Social Security Agency (Sassa) offices at all and there will be no need to fill in paper application forms. Field workers will be deployed to sign up those who don't have access to technology.

The temporary Covid-19 grant is for the unemployed over the age of 18, who are receiving no other form of government assistance, including from the Unemployment Insurance Fund and the National Student Financial Aid Scheme. They also can’t live in a government funded or subsidised institution. The grant will be available to South African citizens, permanent residents or refugees registered with Home Affairs. They have to live in South Africa. 

READ | All the financial help available to South Africans during the coronavirus crisis

Some six million people are expected to qualify for the so-called Covid-19 Social Relief of Distress Grant.

"Applicants are cautioned not to provide their banking details to anyone to avoid scams," Sassa warned on the weekend. Sassa will only request banking details once the application has been approved. Sassa also warned people not to give their PIN or CVV number to anyone.

Once applications are approved, Sassa will request confirmation of bank accounts through a secure site - this will also be done electronically. Payment will be done to an approved bank account or - for those without a bank account - through a money transfer.

Importantly, payments will only be made from the date of approval up to the end of October 2020. “So if applicants apply in June their payments will be from June and there will be no backpay,” minister of social development Lindiwe Zulu previously said.

Also, she stressed that those who apply for the grants consent that Sassa will cross-check their ID, residency, sources of income and welfare benefits with government departments and banks. “False applications will give rise to possible prosecution,” she warned.

READ | Claiming money from the UIF: Everything you need to know

Notification of the outcome for a grant application will be sent via the same channel that the application was filed.

* This article was updated as more means of application were enabled, and more information on the special Covid-19 grant was provided.

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