Answer to a question from a reader

Why has my R350 SRD grant application status said "pending" for two years?

The short answer

SASSA manually verifies every application, which takes very long. It could be that there is information missing but SASSA does not inform applicants when this is the case, so you need to keep checking

The whole question

Dear Athalie

I have been unemployed for almost two years but the R350 SRD grant application I submitted back then still says "pending".

When I phone the SASSA offices, I am told my application is being looked at but there is a backlog. 

When I go to the SASSA offices in person, they tell me they don't deal with the R350 grant and that I should send a WhatsApp. When I send a WhatsApp, they still didn't help. I've tried calling the SASSA helpline but it's rare that anyone answers.

The long answer

It is certainly completely unacceptable that a person in your position, being unemployed, should have to wait that long for SASSA to process your application for the SRD grant. But I’m afraid that has been the experience of very many people.

What SASSA said in May 2024 was the following:

“‘Status pending’ means that your application is received by SASSA, but they still need to review and verify it before approving it. SASSA must verify all your government and financial records, including your identity, citizenship, and financial status to see if you are eligible for the grant. It does not indicate that your application is rejected, but it shows that SASSA needs more time to review it before approving or rejecting it.”

These are the reasons SASSA gives for the delay:

“One of the main reasons is the high volume of applications submitted to SASSA. Thousands of applications are in the processing queue, and your application might still be behind in the sequence. SASSA manually verifies every application, which is a time-consuming process.” (my emphasis) 

SASSA goes on to say: 

“First, you must wait until three months after submitting your SRD R350 grant application. If your SASSA application has been pending for over 90 days and is still pending, then you need to take action to avoid further delay and get the exact status of your application.” (my emphasis)

If there is some problem with an application or some missing information, SASSA does not contact an applicant to inform them – it seems to be entirely up to the applicant to keep checking.

SASSA says that the easiest and quickest method to check your status is to check online in the following way:

  • Click on the official website of SRD (https://SRD.sassa.gov.za/sc19/status) or find any other website such as https://sassa-status.web.za/ that is leading you toward SASSA status results.

  • You have to fill out the information asked for on the page.

  • Then, you have to provide your identity card number and your mobile number for a SASSA status check. The phone number and ID number must be the same ones you used when applying for the grant.

  • As soon as you click on check status, after filling in the columns, you will see the response from the grant application status for 2024.

They conclude that “it is to be noted that the application can also go pending if there is a lack of funds. In such a case, there is nothing much to do from your side apart from waiting. You can keep checking your SASSA status to keep yourself updated on the situation.”

The Black Sash, which is an organisation that gives free paralegal advice, took steps to take SASSA to court over SASSA’s decision that an applicant could only have R350 in their bank account to qualify for the SRD grant. The case was withdrawn when SASSA gave in and reached a settlement out of court with the Black Sash that an applicant could have up to R624 in their bank account.

The Black Sash expressed concern at the low number of successful beneficiaries compared to the number of applications received. They noted that in January 2023 more than 13-million people applied for the grant, but only some 749,000 were approved. 

They said it was psychologically exhausting for applicants who are challenged by an online system that is difficult to access and are confronted with administrative obstacles and ever-shifting payment dates, as well as the uncertainty of the outcome of their applications. They also mentioned the administrative glitches with the use of outdated databases and inaccurate bank evaluations, and the backlog of applications and appeals.  

Since March 2024, the R350 grant has been increased by R20 to R370. The Universal Basic Income Coalition (UBIC) says that, even with the R20 increase, recipients are R70 poorer than they were in 2020 because the cost of living is not being factored in.  

So, yes, it is extremely difficult to get the SRD grant, but in the absence of anything better, you should not give up trying.

If you still cannot access your status using the above advice from SASSA, you could ask the Black Sash to assist you:

Email: help@blacksash.org.za

Helpline: 072 66 33 73, 072 633 3739 or 063 610 1865.

Wishing you the best,
Athalie

Answered on May 27, 2024, 1:06 p.m.

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Please note. We are not lawyers or financial advisors. We do our best to make the answers accurate, but we cannot accept any legal liability if there are errors.