Means test for R350 subsidy could be revised, says social development dept

  • The Department of Social Development shocked the public last week when it imposed a mean test of R350 on the subsidy for social relief of need.
  • The department says the means test is to make sure it stays within budget.
  • It will assess the level depending on how many people apply.

The Department of Social Development says it is open to assessing the R350 means test to be eligible for the R350 Social Relief of Distress (SRD) grant, depending on how many people apply for it.

The department came under fire from civil society activists after it published a surprising change in the subsidy schemes that are eligible for people earning less than R350 per month. Under the previous regulations, made under the State of Disaster, the income threshold was set at the R625 food poverty line.

Since its inception in April 2020, some 10.5 million people have consistently received the special Covid SRD and caregiver subsidy (which has now collapsed into the SRD subsidy). time. All applicants must re-apply for the subsidies under the new regulations and renew their application every three months to confirm that their situation has not changed.

But the department said according to its calculations, it expected to apply for well over 10.5 million, and thus to stay within its budget distribution, it had lowered the revenue threshold to reduce numbers.

TO READ | Under new rules, fewer people will be eligible for a subsidy of R350

Speaking at a press release on Thursday, the department’s acting director general Brenda Sibeko said she wanted to explain what had happened.

“I know that the drug test has made many people unhappy. We want to explain that we are facing the challenge of (only) so many drugs and needs that are unlimited. So from our data, there are 18 million people with income below But the allocation we have is only for 10.5 million people. So we look to make sure we give priority to the most needy. “

Sibeko said:

We try to manage within budget, but we will also observe along the way what the asking price is and how many people receive the subsidy, so that when we have to make adjustments (to the middle class), we do so.

Asked whether there had been public consultation on the new revenue threshold, Sibeko said the draft regulation was published for public comment in February, but did not include the R350 number. This was later added, but there had been consultation within the government and agreement between all relevant departments, she said.

The broad side of the subsidy will seek to stretch to a social compact with labor and business. President Cyril Ramaphosa has said he wants the new pact in place within 100 days of the state of the nation address he delivered on February 10. Cosatu issued a furious statement earlier this week calling the decision “unilateral and ephemeral”. The trade union federation said it expected about 30% of former grant recipients would no longer be eligible.

“It is disappointing that this has not been submitted by the government to Nedlac, even though social partners have spent a lot of time working on and cooperating with the government on the new regulations … government that chooses to undermine Nedlac and to address such an important issue, “the statement said.

The department has also angered people because it takes so long to reopen applications. While the previous subsidy ended at the end of March, it was not until April 23 that it introduced the new application system. Sibeko said the government was “a little worried” that only 7 million people had applied so far and urged people to do so urgently. She said the system could process 5 million a day over the remaining three days of April.

Means test for R350 subsidy could be revised, says social development dept

Source link Means test for R350 subsidy could be revised, says social development dept

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