More than 3,5-m Apply for COVID-19 Unemployment Grant

Those eligible will be notified and will start receiving their first payment of the six-month Special Covid19 SRD Grant of R350 by Friday – 15 May. 

COVID-19 Grant
Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu has announced the criteria for the R350 Covid-19 relief grant announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: Jairus Mmutle/GCIS

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 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,” Minister of Social Development Lindiwe Zulu said on Thursday.

The South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) started taking nationwide applications for the grant on Monday.

“As of Friday, 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,” said the Department of Social Development (DSD).

Applications are currently being assessed and verified.

Those eligible will be notified and will start receiving their first payment of the six-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,” said the DSD.

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.

The department has appealed for people to wait to be contacted and not visit SASSA offices.

“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 the government,” the Minister said.

People can apply in one of three ways, namely:

  • 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 in 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,” Zulu said.

The department will continuously share information on developments across all platforms.  –


  1. Seence may 15 ive been applied for this 350 cause im not working im staying at home alone im starving to death now plz help with anything noma kungaba ama food parcel nje ngingabonga kakhulu


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here