Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu has announced the extension of the R350 social relief of distress grant (SRD). Applications will open at 9am on Friday the 6th of August 2021, with payments rolling out from the end of August. 


While the extension was initially meant to assist people affected by the unrest in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal in July 2021, it is now widened to its original intended audience of successful applicants affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.


A total of R26.7 billion has been allocated to the fund, which will be administered by the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) for those who do not have a bank account. The grant will accept applications for eight months until 31 March 2022 and applications are open to those who currently have no source of income or financial assistance. 


“It is also important to emphasise that the previous SRD grant expired on 30 April 2021, and this means that all those who had previously applied must reapply”, said Zulu during a recent media briefing. In addition, no payment will be made for the months where the grant was not active.


Criteria for grant application


For those looking to apply for the monthly R350 grant, the following criteria must be met:


  • You must be a South African citizen, permanent resident or refugee registered on the Home Affairs database
  • You must currently reside in South Africa
  • You must be at least 18 years of age and under 60 years of age
  • You must currently be unemployed
  • You must not be a recipient of any form of social grant,  unemployment insurance benefit or stipend from NSFAS
  • You cannot reside in a government funded institution


All applicants will be subject to an application review process, no automatic approvals will take place.


Zulu has urged successful applicants whose payments were released between 1 May 2020 and 30 April 2021 to collect their payments if they haven’t done so. Currently, 571,724 grants that were approved have not been collected. “After 31 August, we will not be able to consider any enquiries relating to the previous grant,” Zulu added.


If an applicant’s payment is not collected by 31 August 2021, the amount will be handed over to the state and the amount will no longer be eligible for payment.


Social relief of distress grant application process


  1. Choose which channel you would like to send your application through. You have the option of:
  • WhatsApp message – 060-012-3456 and select SASSA
  • USSD – *134*7737#
  • Email –
  1. In your message include your name, surname and ID number
  2. You will receive a reply with the steps you need to follow to complete your application
  3. When your application has been approved you will receive a message requesting your bank details or told to collect your payment via SASSA at the post office.


For more information visit the Social Relief of Distress grants page on the South African government website.


While some parties have criticized the amount of R350, the grant extension no doubt brings relief to millions of unemployed South Africans looking to start a business or to get themselves back on their feet financially.