What is the New SASSA Facial Recognition Software for Referrals

What is the New SASSA Facial Recognition Software for Referrals?

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By Anele Zulu

The South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) has introduced a new facial recognition system to help fight fraud and ensure that social grants reach the right people. This new software will be used to verify the identities of applicants whose cases have been “referred” due to suspected irregularities.

SASSA is responsible for providing various social grants to South Africans in need, including the Social Relief of Distress (SRD) grant. Last month (April 2024), the agency increased the SRD grant amount from R350 to R370 per month to help people cope with the rising cost of living.

With millions of citizens relying on these grants, SASSA wants to make sure that the money goes to those who truly qualify and need it the most. That’s why they have launched the new facial recognition software to help catch and prevent fraud.


What is a “Referred” Case?

A case is marked as “referred” when SASSA suspects that something is not right with the application. This could be because the applicant gave false information or because someone else tampered with the application.

If your case is referred, it means that SASSA has spotted some potential problems and needs to verify that you are the real person who should be receiving the grant.

How Does the Facial Recognition Software Work?

If your case is referred, you will receive two SMS messages from SASSA. The second message will have a special link that you need to click.

This link will take you to a website where you will be asked to take a photo of your face using your phone’s camera. The facial recognition software will then compare your photo to the information that SASSA has on file for you.

It’s important to follow the instructions carefully when taking the photo. Make sure your phone’s camera lens is clean, and stand in a well-lit area. Look straight into the camera with your head up. You also need to have enough data and a good signal on your phone to send the photo to SASSA.

Why is Facial Recognition Needed?

SASSA has found cases where someone has changed the personal information of a grant recipient, like their ID number or phone number. By changing these details, these dishonest people can then redirect the grant payment to themselves instead of the person who should be receiving it.

The facial recognition software is a clever way to stop this kind of fraud. Because the software uses biometric data (information about your physical features) to verify your identity, it becomes much harder for someone else to pretend to be you and steal your grant.

Other SASSA SRD Statuses

Besides the “referred” status, there are other statuses that you might see when checking on your SRD grant application:

  1. Complete: SASSA has received your application, but they haven’t approved it yet.
  2. Pending: SASSA is still checking and verifying your application. Be patient and wait for their decision.
  3. Approved: Congratulations! Your grant application has been approved, and SASSA will let you know when you will receive your first payment.
  4. Bank Details Pending: SASSA doesn’t have your banking information on file. You need to update your banking details urgently so they can pay your grant.
  5. Reapplication Pending: SASSA hasn’t received your application for the new R370 SRD grant. You need to reapply as soon as possible.
  6. Declined: Your application has been declined because you didn’t meet all the requirements. If you disagree with the reasons given, you can appeal the decision with the Department of Social Development (DSD).

Be Honest and Truthful

While the new facial recognition software is a good way to catch fraud, it’s also important that you are honest and truthful when applying for a SASSA grant. Giving false information or trying to cheat the system can lead to serious consequences, like having your application rejected or even facing legal action.

SASSA encourages all applicants to follow the proper procedures and to provide accurate information. If you’re not sure about something, it’s better to ask SASSA officials for help or visit your nearest SASSA office.

Protecting Social Grants

The new facial recognition software is part of SASSA’s efforts to protect the social grant system in South Africa. With limited resources and more people needing assistance, it’s important to make sure that the grant money goes to those who truly need it.

By using modern technology like facial recognition and having stricter verification processes, SASSA hopes to reduce fraud and irregular spending. This way, the millions of South Africans who rely on social grants can continue receiving the support they need.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What should I do if my SASSA case is marked as “referred”?

If your case is referred, you will receive two SMS messages from SASSA. Follow the instructions in the second message to access the facial recognition system and verify your identity.

Q: Is the facial recognition process compulsory?

Yes, if your case is referred, you must complete the facial recognition process to resolve the issue and continue receiving your grant.

Q: What if the facial recognition system can’t verify my identity?

If the software can’t verify your identity, SASSA might ask for additional documents or do further investigations. It’s important to provide accurate information and cooperate with SASSA during this process.

Q: How long does it take for SASSA to Process a Referred case after Facial Recognition?

SASSA will try to resolve referred cases as quickly as possible, but the processing time may vary depending on how complicated the case is and how busy SASSA is at the time.

Q: Can I appeal if my SASSA grant application is declined?

Yes, if your application is declined, you have the right to appeal the decision with the Department of Social Development (DSD). SASSA will provide instructions on how to lodge an appeal.

By introducing the facial recognition software, SASSA is taking steps to fight fraud and make sure that social grants go to the people who really need them. While the process might involve an extra step for some applicants, it’s an important measure to protect the system and safeguard the interests of South African citizens.

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