How to Apply for Social Relief of Distress

The coronavirus COVID-19 social grant was implemented to reduce the intense financial hardship that occurred as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. This social relief grant came as food parcels and R350 per month.

Applicants could only apply for this grant online. This grant is a social relief of distress grant or an SRD grant

How to Apply for Social Relief of Distress
Image Source: South African Medical Research Council

The coronavirus COVID-19 social grant is a grant that was first offered by the South African government from May 2020 to October 2020, however, it may be making a comeback in 2021. Keep reading to find out all you need to know about it.

Who Can Apply?

There is all of the requirements regarding who is allowed to apply for the coronavirus COVID-19 social grant.

How to Apply for Social Relief of Distress
Image Source: South Africa Gateway

South African citizens, South African permanent residents, or refugees registered with the Department of Home Affairs (we’ll explain this later on) above the age of 18 can all apply.


You can also apply if you are unemployed, not earning or getting an income, and do not receive any other social grants.

Other Considerations

Those who are not getting paid as a result of unemployment insurance or are not currently benefiting from the National Student Financial Aid Scheme may qualify.

People who are not getting money or support from any other government-funded COVID-19 response systems and do not reside in government-subsidized or funded institutions can apply.


Items Needed

There are several things you will need in order to apply for this relief grant. The first thing is your ID number, which should be a 13-digit bar code.

How to Apply for Social Relief of Distress

You will need to provide your name and your surname as shown in your ID. Please ensure to include your initials.

You will need to verify your gender, as well as any disabilities you may have. Proof of your residential address will be required, also. 

Aside from that, you simply need to provide your contact details, such as your phone number and email address. Finally, your banking details, bank account number, and bank name will be required. 

Online Applications

Please note that SASSA will not ask for your bank account password, CVV, or any scans not specified above. 

There are no paper applications, as all applications are to be filled out online. The application is also completely free. 

SASSA retains the right to confirm the details of all applicants, and falsification will result in prosecution.

How To Apply

Once you have gathered together all the information that you will need, there are a couple of options to choose from when it comes to the application.

How to Apply for Social Relief of Distress
Image Source: Studies in Poverty and Inequality Institute

You can navigate to the government website and find the application form. There are a few other ways that you can get help to fill out the application, as well.

You can also use your phone to apply for the grant. You can call the call center IVR at 0800 60 10 11, or too can choose to use their WhatsApp line at 0600 123 452 (select SASSA). 

You can also reach out via email by sending an inquiry to

Length of Application Process

The actual application filing process takes very little time to finish. After submitting the application, you can look to expect an answer within 10 business days

This is an estimated time, and it depends on whether or not all the forms and documents have been attached properly. 

If it takes longer than 10 days, you can reach out to inquire about the status of your application. 

Amounts of Payment

This grant pays R350 per month to all successful applicants. If you don’t have a bank account, you are still allowed to apply.

How to Apply for Social Relief of Distress

If your application is successful, you will be paid through money transfers. Please ask SASSA to confirm and show proof of their legitimacy before confirming your bank account details. 

You may be allowed to change payment options for a limited time only. 

This includes changing bank accounts and opting for a cash payment option.

Additional Steps

In 2020, SASSA took extra measures to provide for affected individuals and communities. Below are some of the steps SASSA took.

  1. SASSA continued to provide child support grants to already existing beneficiaries. SASSA paid an extra R300 in the month of May aside from the R450 the recipients received monthly. In the months of June to October, they also received R500.
  2. For other grant beneficiaries, they were awarded R250 for six months in addition to the coronavirus COVID-19 social grant.
  3. SASSA sought to provide food assistance, as well. They did this by sharing vouchers alongside cash transfers for those who needed it the most. They also teamed up with several NGOs around the country to distribute over 200,000 food parcels.
  4. Unemployed people and people who did not currently benefit from any social grants received R350 as a special COVID-19 relief grant.

Payment Options For Grants

For SASSA grant payments, one of the options is to go through ATMs or retail outlets.

How to Apply for Social Relief of Distress
Image Source: The Citizen

When it comes to ATMs, banks have confirmed that they will be stocked at the beginning of the payment cycle, which starts on March 30th. 

There will be reminders at each ATM that the priority should be people with disabilities and the elderly. Retail outlets are another option. 

The list of these stores is going to be released to the NATJOC to help make sure that they are ready for the influx of people.

Containment Procedures

This will allow them to make sure they meet all containment procedures. There are several measurements that need to be in place.

Containment procedures that are going to be put in place include the following.

  • One manager at each pay point to help with the flow of traffic
  • Staff will wear mask and gloves and carry hand sanitizer
  • Hand sanitizer will be available at the beginning of every line
  • PostBank call center will be available 24/7 for all inquiries or issues

How To Check Your Status

If you apply and hear nothing within 10 business days, then you will want to reach out to check your status

How to Apply for Social Relief of Distress
Image Source: eNCA

There are a couple of ways you can check the status of your application. The application can be tracked on the government’s website through its status tracker.

However, if you are looking to check the status on the go, then you can also use the grant’s WhatsApp number. You will just send the word “status” to 082 046 8553. 

This might take a little bit, but it may end up being the best option for you to check the status of your application.

Application Progress

Once you have hit the check status button, you will then be told where in the process your application is at the time. 

As we said above, the process for the actual application generally takes up to 10 business days, but you can check the status at any point of the process. 

Appealing the Decision

Not everyone will get approved for the grant. This may be frustrating for those who get a “referred” status or are completely declined, but you can always appeal the decision.

How to Apply for Social Relief of Distress
Image Source: AS English

The government has set up a system to accommodate this process. The initial appeal process is quite simple and will take very little time.

You will need to visit their website and find the tab that says “application” or “reconsideration”. Once you have clicked this button, you will be taken to a contact form. 

You will want to make sure you include your name, ID number, and all pertinent contact information. If this information is not attached, your application will not be processed.

How Long Does It Take?

The appeal of your declined or referred status must be executed within 90 days of the final decision. 

Even after this process, if you are still declined, then you can move onto another appeal with the Independent Appeals Tribunal. 

This process must also be done within 90 days of the last appeal.

Food Parcels

The food parcels were not available to everyone. Criteria were set in place to ensure they were sent to the people who needed it the most.

How to Apply for Social Relief of Distress
Image Source: The Conversation

This included those who receive temporary disability grants, as well as communities recovering from disasters like floods and fires. 

Also high on the list were families who have lost their breadwinners in the last 12 months.

Other high-priority recipients were those unable to work for 6 months due to medical conditions and households where everyone is unemployed. 

Special Consideration

Lastly, special consideration was given to households with children under the age of 18 in charge.

The country has not released an official statement concerning the continuity of this SRD grant


The coronavirus COVID-19 social grant is a social relief of distress grant created by the South African government. 

This social grant was available for 6 months, and it provided funds and food parcels to individuals and communities in need.