Laws that apply to social welfare
Types of social grants
Social grants (for adults who are 18 years and older)
The means test for all adult social assistance grants
Who cannot get a grant?
How much money can you get?
Social grants for children (below the age of 18 years)
Care Dependency Grant
Social Relief of Distress Award
Applying for a grant
Methods of payment
\When does the grant stop?
Private welfare and service organisations
South Africa's constitution guarantees the right of all citizens to have access to social security, including, if they are unable to support themselves and their dependents, appropriate social assistance.Section 27 of Chapter 2 of the Bill of Rights states that “ (1) Everyone has the right to have access to (a) health care services, including reproductive health care”; (b) sufficient food and water; and (c) social security, including, if they are unable to support themselves and their dependents, appropriate social assistance. (2) The state must take reasonable legislative and other measures within its available resources to achieve the progressive realisation of each of these rights.”
Social assistance grants are one way in which the government gives people access to social security which is a right guaranteed in the Constitution. Everyone pays taxes to the government, through working (income tax) and buying things (VAT). Some of this money is used to pay social grants to people who cannot support themselves and/or their families.
The the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA).administers social assistance grants on behalf of the Department of Social Development.
Underpinning the whole welfare delivery system are the Batho Pele Principles (People First). This is a government programme to improve delivery in the public service and requires that eight service delivery principles be implemented by all public servants.
The Batho Pele Principles are as follows:
The main laws that concern social welfare are as follows:
Other Acts that concern social welfare include:
See Section 27: Right of access to health care, food, water and social security. (2011 Edition)
The Social Assistance Act provides a national legislative framework for the provision of different types of social grants, crisis intervention in the form of social relief of distress, the delivery of social assistance grants by a national Agency (SASSA), as well as the establishment of an Independent Tribunal for Social Assistance Appeals (ITSAA) and the Inspectorate for Social Security.
The functions of the Inspectorate are to:
The South African Social Security Agency Act makes provision for the effective management, administration and payment of social assistance and services through the establishment of the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA). Payment is either electronic (EFT) or manual. SASSA contracts service providers to administer its cash payments.
SASSA is responsible for the administration of social assistance grants. In addition to its main function of administering grants it must also:
The relationship between SASSA and the Inspectorate
SASSA is the agent that is responsible for implementing social assistance policy, in other words, for process and delivery of social assistance. The inspectorate is a watchdog of the whole social assistance system and SASSA.
The functions of the Inspectorate are to:
The relationship between SASSA and the Independent Tribunal for Social Assistance Appeals (ITSAA)
In terms of the Social Assistance Act, the minister has to consider written appeals that will go to the Independent Tribunal for Social Assistance Appeals (ITSAA).
Section 18 includes reconsideration of a decision by SASSA.
The function of SASSA in respect of appeals is to:
The functions of the Appeals Tribunal are to:
The relationship between SASSA and cash payment contractors
The payment of grants is now largely made through Electronic Fund Transfers; however the payments of grants in cash still occurs although it is being phased out. SASSA has contractual relationships with cash payment contractors who are responsible for the physical payment of grants in cash at various agreed sites. The payment of cash grants is more expensive and is also vulnerable to fraud, theft and abuse and the EFT system is therefore preferred.
The Children’s Act (No 38 of 2005) and the Children’s Amendment (No 41 of 2007) bring South Africa’s child care and protection laws in line with the Bill of Rights and International law. The purpose of both Acts is to give effect to children’s rights to:
The Children’s Act was passed in 2005 but only signed into law in June 2006. Certain sections of the Act came into force from the 1st July 2007 and the remaining sections are dealt with in the Children’s Amendment Act and regulations became fully operational in 2010.
See Why are there two separate Acts?
Summary of the Children’s Act and Children’s Amendment Act.
Brief summary of sections of the Act that apply from 1 July 2007.
The Children’s Amendment Act was passed by parliament at the end of 2007 and the regulations have since being finalized. This Act and the regulations make changes to social support for children by providing for the following services to children and their families:
Also read Chapter 8: Family Law and violence against women, for more information.
The following sections of the Act are relevant to social grants:
In terms of the Social Assistance Act social assistance is provided in the form of the following types of grants:
There are four different state social grants - Older Person’s Grant, Disability Grant, War Veteran's Grant and Grant-in-Aid.
Social grants are available to South African citizens and permanent residents. In addition, refugees can access disability grants.
See What does South African citizenship mean?
Legal entry and staying in South Africa.
In order to apply for an Older Person’s Grant the applicant must:
A person cannot apply for an Older Person’s Grant in the following cases:
1. if they are living or being taken care of by any of the following institutions which are wholly funded by the state:
A person can still apply if they are in an institution which is partially funded by the state; however the grant would be reduced to 25%.
2. If the applicant is receiving another adult social grant (unless it is a Grant-in-Aid).
Applicants for a grant must have proof of the following before applying:
A disability grant is a social grant intended to provide for the basic needs of adults (people who are over 18 years) who are unfit to work due to a mental or physical disability. The applicant should not have refused to do work that they are capable of doing and should not have refused treatment. The disability must be confirmed by a valid medical report of a medical officer stating whether the disability is temporary or permanent.
When an application is made for a disability grant, the SASSA officer will give the person a medical form to be completed by either a medical officer or an assessment panel. The medical person must write on the form what kind of disability it is and how long they think it will last.
The assessment by an assessment panel will take place if there is no doctor available. The panel will consist of medical people such as nurses, psychologists and social workers as well as community leaders such as chief magistrates or priests.
The SASSA officer sends the doctor's certificate in with the application form. The medical officers in SASSA look at the medical certificate or assessment and see if they agree that you are disabled. If they do not agree, they turn the application down.
A person can apply for a temporary disability grant where it is believed the disability will last between six months and a year, OR a permanent disability grant where it is believed the disability will last for more than a year.
The medical certificate for a grant may not be older than 3 months at the date of application.
In order to apply for a Disability Grant the applicant must:
A person can still apply if you are in an institution which is partially funded by the state, and may then receive a partial grant.
You cannot apply for a Disability Grant in the following cases:
If the person is living or being taken care of by any of the following institutions which are wholly funded by the state:
- if they have refused to undergo medical treatment;
- if they are receiving another grant (unless it is a Grant-in-Aid).
Applicants for a grant must have proof of the following before applying for a grant:
In order to apply for a War Veteran’s Grant the applicant must:
Special grants have been introduced for war veterans who fought in the liberation struggle for a democratic South Africa. If a person thinks that they qualify they should contact their political party.
The Special Pension makes provision for individuals who made sacrifices in fighting for a democratic South Africa., In the event of the death of those who fought, their survivors may receive a pension or lump sum payment.
Applicants for a grant must have proof of the following before applying for a grant:
The Grant-in-Aid is a social grant intended to provide for the basic needs of adults who are unable to care for themselves and is certified by a medical officer to be in need of full-time care from someone else.
The Grant-in-Aid is provided as an additional grant to adults who are already receiving one of the following grants: Older Person’s Grant / Disability Grant / War Veteran’s Grant. The Grant-in-Aid is not paid out on its own – it must be in addition to a main social grant. Please note this grant is paid out to the person receiving the main grant, and not to their assistant. In addition, note that there is no means test for the Grant-in-Aid.
See Person receiving an Older Person’s Grant needs full time care.
In order to apply for a Grant-in-Aid you must:
What do you need in order to apply?
Proof of any other income and assets
Anyone applying for a social grant must qualify through a means test. This is a way of measuring a person’s income and assets. If the person applies for a grant, SASSA will evaluate their income and assets. If the income and/or assets are higher than the thresholds set by government, then they will not qualify for a social grant. The means test depends on their own income and assets if they are not married, and on the income and assets of the applicant and their spouse if married. Please note: It makes no difference if the applicant is married in community of property or out of community of property.
The income and assets thresholds set for the means test as of April 2011 are as follows:
The value of a house that a person lives in is not taken into account, regardless who it belongs to.
A married person’s joint income with his/her spouse should not be more than R89 760 per year, or R7 480.00 per month The income of a spouse is taken into account whether you are married in or out of community of property. However, if your spouse has deserted you for more than 3 months, then the marital status of the applicant is not taken into account. In this case you would need to attest to the desertion with an affidavit.
For up-to-date information on the asset and income thresholds for the means test, check the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) website: www.sassa.gov.za., or the Black Sash website: www.blacksash.org.za
Income means money you get from somewhere else. This can be:
If one of the spouses already receives a grant, then that grant must not be counted as income when you apply for a grant.
A husband and wife can claim separate grants. If one of the spouses already receives an adult grant, then that grant must not be counted as income when you apply for a grant. If either of the spouses already gets a grant, then that grant must not be counted as income when the other spouse applies for a grant.
You are allowed to deduct the following:
Even if you are old enough, disabled, or a war veteran, you may still not get a grant. A grant can be refused if you:
The amount you get depends on your income.. The amount also changes each year with the annual government budget.
As from 1st April 2011 the following amounts will be paid per month:
For up-to-date information on grant amounts check the website of the South African Social Security Agency: www.sassa.gov.za and click on ‘About Social Grants” then “Grants Amount’. You can also check the Black Sash website: www.blacksash.org.za
Both parents have a duty to support the child. If the parent of a child is still alive and has money, and their whereabouts are known, the primary caregiver can get maintenance from the parent. If the parents refuse to pay, this can be taken to the Maintenance Court at the Magistrate's Court. The maintenance officers will help the applicant to get money from the parent who is not providing support.
See The duty to support.
Problem 4: Getting maintenance through the Maintenance Court. (2011 Edition)
But if the parents have no money to support the child then the primary care-giver can apply for a Child Support Grant. A primary care-giver is any person who takes responsibility for the daily needs of the child and who may or may not be related to the child.
The Child Support Grant is intended to provide for the basic needs of South African children whose parents or primary care-givers are not able to provide sufficient support due to unemployment or poverty.
Parents and primary caregivers qualify for the child support grant if their child is under the age of 17 or born after 31 December 1993. On 1 January 2012 the grant will be extended to primary caregivers with children under the age of 18.
They may apply for the CSG if they qualify as per the means test.
The amount of the grant from 1st April 2011 is R270 for every child who qualifies.
For up-to-date information on grant amounts check the following website: www.sassa.gov.za or www.blacksash.org.za
It does not matter whether you are the parent of the child or not, or whether the parents of the child are living together, whether they are married or not married, whether either of the parents is in prison or not, or whether the husband or wife receives another state grant.
A primary care-giver can apply for the Child Support Grant on behalf of a child or children in his or her care. A primary care-giver can be a parent, grandparent, or anyone who is mainly responsible for looking after and providing for the basic needs of the child. A primary care-giver must be older than 16 years old and does not need to be family of the child.
The grant will be paid for all qualifying biological or legally adopted children. In the case of non-biological children and who are not legally adopted, the grant will be paid for a maximum of six children.
The grant is paid to the primary care-giver. In all cases the grant follows the child. This means that if someone else becomes the primary care-giver, then the grant goes to that person.
The primary care-giver is responsible for ensuring that the child is fed, clothed, immunized, given access to health-care and for using the money to benefit the child. SASSA must be allowed to have access to the child at all reasonable times.
The child’s ability to get the grant will depend on the financial situation of the primary care-giver and their spouse. If the primary care-giver is a single parent, they should first try to get money from the child’s other parent through applying for a maintenance order.
The person who applies must:
A primary care-giver cannot apply for a grant if:
In order to qualify for a Child Support Grant the primary care-giver must pass a means test to see if the child is eligible for the grant. The asset threshold test is the same for all other grants but the income threshold differs.
See Means test for adult social assistance grants.
A married person’s joint income with his/her spouse should not be more than R62 400 per year or R5 200 per month.
The process for applying for the Child Support Grant is the same as for all other grants.
See Applying for a grant.
The following documents are required for the application:
All copies of documents must be certified. This means they must be signed and stamped by a police officer or any other commissioner of oaths.
The applicant will be given a copy of the application or a dated receipt signed by the SASSA officer. This provides proof of the application.
If the application is not approved, a letter will be sent to give reasons for the rejection. There is a right of appeal against this decision.
See Stage 3: Appeals process.
There is supposed to be a waiting period of only up to 3 months before the primary care-giver receives payment. The first payment of the grant should include all the money from the date of application.
Payment can be made in the way that suits you:
A Foster Care Grant is a grant intended to provide for the basic needs of foster children who have been placed in the care of foster parents by a Children’s Court. The Foster Care Grant is paid to foster parents for children between the ages of 0 and 18 years. An extension order for foster care can be given until the age of 21 years if the child is still at secondary school.
See Foster care.
Usually a grant is for 2 years but a social worker can extend the grant depending on the circumstances.
A foster parent is responsible for ensuring that the child is fed, clothed, healthy, attending school and that the foster grant is used to benefit the child. SASSA officers must always be allowed to have access to the child.
The amount paid for a foster care grant from 1st April 2011 is R740 per month.
For up-to-date information on grant amounts which change every year, see the following websites: www.sassa.gov or blacksash.org.za
In order to apply for a Foster Care Grant, the foster parent and the foster child must:
There is no means test to qualify for a Foster Care Grant.
The process for applying for a Foster Care Grant is the same as for all other grants. However note that the child must have been placed in foster care by order of the court before the foster care grant can be applied for.
See Applying for a grant.
The following documents are required for the application:
The situation of the child who is placed in need of care is reviewed from time to time. A social work review may take into account, whether the foster child:
The beneficiaries must inform SASSA of any changes in the foster parent/s’ or foster child/ren's circumstances.
If a child is severely disabled, the foster parent can get a Care Dependency Grant as well as a Foster Child Grant.
Note: The Children’s Amendment Act deals with foster care.
See The Children’s Act and the Children’s Amendment Act.
The Care Dependency Grant is a social grant intended to provide support to parents, primary care-givers or foster parents of any child with severe mental and/or physical disabilities up to 18 years, requiring full-time home care. Even though the child may make use of professional support services, the child should not be cared for in an institution but at home in order to qualify. The child’s disability must be assessed by a medical doctor appointed by SASSA.
The amount of the grant from 1st April 2011 is R1140 per month. For up-to-date information on grant amounts which change on an annual basis, see the following website: www.sassa.gov.za and www.blacksash.org.za
The person receiving the grant is responsible for ensuring that the child is fed, clothed, receives care and stimulation as well as access to health services.
In order to apply for a Care Dependency Grant, the parents, primary care giver, or foster parents and the child must be:
A child with severe disabilities cannot get a Care Dependency Grant if:
Only the income threshold of the caregivers of the child who is care dependent is assessed. There is no asset threshold test. The applicant, spouse and child must meet the means test (except for foster parents where a different means test applies)
See What is the means test to qualify for a Foster Care Grant? (2011 Edition).
Therefore, receiving the Care Dependency Grant depends on the income of the entire family. A person can qualify for the CDG if:
The process of applying for a Care Dependency Grant is the same as for all other grants.
See Applying for a grant.
The following documents are required for the application:
Proof of the income and if you receive the care dependency grant, the primary caregiver must ensure that the child:
The Care Dependency Grant will be stopped in any of the following situations:
The grant will be reviewed from time to time to check changes in the child’s circumstances.
A Social Relief of Distress Award is a temporary form of support - in voucher, cash or food - for people that are in crisis and in need of immediate help to survive. The amount of temporary relief will usually be equivalent to the amount of a grant that the person would qualify for less than a grant and it will only be given for up to three months. You can apply for an extension of the relief for another three months. A social worker or officer, referred by SASSA, will be sent to check your situation and write a report to qualify for further extension. Because this is supposed to be for immediate relief, the application should not take long to process.
You cannot get relief if:
The process for applying for Social Relief of Distress is the same as for all other grants.
What do you need in order to apply for relief?
You will need the following documents in order to apply:
See Model letter: Application for Social Relief of Distress Grant.
The value of the Social Relief of Distress award must be equal to, in the case of:
If you are not eligible for a grant, the amount would be at the discretion of SASSA but it should not be less than the amount of the Child Support Grant.
When your application is approved, you will be issued with a voucher or a food parcel.
It will take less than 30 working days for your application to be processed and checked and either approved or refused. If it is refused you will get a letter explaining why it has been refused and how you can appeal.
There is also a special form of relief for transport money. This relief is given once only and must be recommended by the social worker for people who:
What do you need in order to apply for relief?
You can apply at the nearest SASSA local or counter service point of a district office in your area.
You can apply from Monday to Friday but some counter service points are only open for grants on certain days of the week or month, or sometimes only once in two months. Check with your local counter service point for opening times.
Proof of identity, South African citizenship and age:
Some South Africans and foreign nationals have experienced problems in getting their identity documents from the Department of Home Affairs. As this remains a challenge, it is important to know what alternative identity documents can be used to apply for and receive social assistance.
In 2005, the Alliance for Children's Entitlement to Social Security (ACESS) – in which the Black Sash participates along with other civil society organisations - took the Minister of Social Development to court.
The purpose was to insist that the government implements the 2005 Regulations which allowed children to use alternative identification where they did not have any, particularly where the Department of Home Affairs had not yet issued their documents. This became known as the ‘Paper Chase Case’. ACESS won the case, but the government appealed. Finally in March 2008, the court instructed the government to allow alternative identification to be used by adults and children. Five months later, in August 2008, new Regulations were published which included the option of using alternative identification documentation.
SASSA offices have since then been implementing these regulations, and the Department of Social Development has monitored implementation to ensure the court order is complied with.
Section 11(1) of the 2008 Regulations of the Social Assistance Act of 2004 says that SASSA may accept alternative proof of identification where the person currently has no valid proof (an identity document or a birth certificate).
Alternative proof could include
These could also be supported by
Ideally alternative identification should only be used as a temporary measure. While it has not been regulated, SASSA requires that grant beneficiaries apply to the Department of Home Affairs within three months for their proper documents. Once the person provides proof of having applied for their documents, the grant will continue to be paid until the beneficiary receives their identity documents and returns to the SASSA office to update their records. However, if they do not apply for these documents and do not return to SASSA to confirm that this has been done within the three month period, payment of their grant may be suspended.
See South Africa’s citizenship law.
There are three stages in the process of applying for a grant:
Stage 1: Application process
The application for the social assistance grants is free and should not take longer than 2 hours. This has to be done at a SASSA office.
You must take all your proof to the nearest SASSA District office or counter service point. Some of the forms that you are required to complete will be given to you and you will need to have these correctly filled in.
See What do you need before you apply?
You will first have to fill in an application form in the presence of a SASSA officer. After this there will be an interview, fingerprints will be taken, and then you must present information to prove your means (income and assets) to see if you qualify under the means test. The documents will be verified by another SASSA officer. All information that you provide during the application process will need to be signed by you as being true and correct. When the application is made, you should say how you would like the money to be paid.
See Getting paid.
In addition, if you are applying for a Disability Grant, the following steps will be taken:
Stage 2: Notification process
It will take about thirty working days for your application to be processed and checked and either approved or refused.
If your application is approved it must be dated and in the language that you prefer.
If the application is approved, you should start getting payments within 3 months. Payments will be backdated to the day you applied for the grant. If you have not received payment within 3 months, you can find out what has happened to the application and when you can expect payment by contacting the following number: SASSA toll-free helpline on 0800 601 011.
If the application is rejected, the rejection must be made in writing in the language that you prefer and it must advise you on your right to appeal and the process to follow.
Stage 3: Appeals process
If the application is rejected, a letter of appeal can be written to the Minister of Social Development explaining why you do not agree with the decision. This appeal must be sent (lodged) within 90 days of receiving the letter of rejection. The Minister reviews the appeal and may decide to overturn the decision of rejection or may agree with the first assessment.
The Minister may also appoint an independent tribunal which has to deal with the matter within 30 days. If the matter has been referred to a tribunal, you must be given a chance to address the tribunal. The Minister must inform you, within 30 days of the finalization of the tribunal process, of the tribunal’s conclusion.
If the applicant cannot be made by the caregiver or beneficiary because they are too old or sick, a friend or family member can bring a letter from them and a doctor's note saying why the primary caregiver cannot visit the office themselves. A home visit may then be arranged. The Agency can also appoint a Procurator for this person.
See Can another person fetch an applicant’s grant?
Remember you can also apply for a Grant-in-Aid at the same time as you apply for an Older Person’s Grant, Disability Grant or War Veteran’s Grant if you cannot look after yourself and need full-time care.
When you apply for a grant you need to say how you would like the money to be paid. You can receive your grant by the following methods:
If you want to have the money paid into a bank or post office account, you must fill in a special form when you make the application.
If you want to change the method and place of payment of the grant you can make an application to the local service office.
See Problem 2: Problems with grant payments: Getting a grant paid into a bank account.
If you cannot collect the grant yourself, you may nominate a procurator to collect it on your behalf.
See Can another person fetch an applicant’s grant?
All grants are paid monthly. But the dates and times of grant payments are different in different areas.
Your first payment can be bigger than the regular monthly payment, because the first payment is counted from the date of your application. So if you waited four months after applying, you should get four month's money in your first payment.
See Problem 4: Problems with grant applications, Long delay in getting grant.
Problem 12: Problems with grant payments, Applying for back pay.
When you go to collect your grant you must take a valid identity document with you. When you receive the money, count it to check that it is right and then sign or thumb print for receipt of the money. This is proof that you have received the money. You must not sign or give your thumb print before you get the money. If something is wrong with the money you must not sign. You must complain immediately to the person who makes the payouts.
See Problem 13: Problems with grant payments: SASSA officers are rude to grant applicants.
If a grant applicant is too old, sick or disabled and cannot get to the SASSA office to fetch their grant, they can sign a paper called a power of attorney to say that another person called a procurator, can fetch the grant. The SASSA office has a special power of attorney form which specifies what details to fill in order to appoint a procurator. The procurator who will collect the grant on behalf of the sick or disabled person must take the form to the grant applicant. The applicant must sign or put their thumb print on the power of attorney, in front of a Commissioner of Oaths (for example, a lawyer, church minister, police officer or bank or post office official). The procurator must do the same.
If the applicant is too old, sick or disabled to go to a Commissioner of Oaths to sign the power of attorney, they must ask at least two people (who know the applicant well) to make an affidavit. This is a sworn statement that says the applicant is still alive but he/she cannot collect their own grant because of sickness or disability. They must sign the affidavits in front of a Commissioner of Oaths.
It is also possible to request a SASSA officer to do a home visit to enable the applicant to complete and sign the Power of Attorney form in front of the official.
The SASSA officer must approve an applicant’s request to let someone else fetch the grant.
The SASSA officer can regularly ask to see the applicant, or to see some proof that he/she is still alive. The grant can be stopped if proof is not given that the applicant is still alive. However, the SASSA officer must send a notice to the applicant or give the notice to the person who collects the grant, before the month when the SASSA officer wants new proof.
When the procurator goes to collect the grant money, s/he must produce a valid identify document and an affidavit to prove that s/he has been authorised to do this.
A welfare organisation can also be appointed to collect grants on behalf of beneficiaries, for instance an old age home.
All your grant money must be paid to you in full. Deductions can only be made from your grant money if the law believes it is in your best interests. The only lawful deduction which can be made is for a funeral policy, if you have agreed to have this deducted from the grant. No deductions can be made for Moneylenders and creditors, who may also not enter the premises or be within 100 metres of where grants are paid. Moneylenders and creditors may also not hold your ID book, or card and you may not cede your grant to another person.
A grant can stop for many legal reasons.
The Older Person’s Grant and War Veteran's Grant stops:
If you die, the person who holds the receipt for funeral expenses can claim your pension up to the end of the month in which you die, providing that pension was not already paid during that month. . He or she can use this money to help with the funeral and other expenses. After the person claims, this money takes about 3 months to come.
The Disability Grant stops for all the same reasons as the Older Person’s Grant, PLUS
The law also says the SASSA officer can review the disability grant -
A Disability Grant will be converted to an Older Person’s Grant when the beneficiary turns 60 years old.
A Grant-in-Aid stops for all the same reasons as the grants and if the main grant is withdrawn.
There are times when a grant is wrongly stopped. If this happens, you should send a letter to the same office where you made the application. The letter should give:
Keep a copy of the letter and proof that the letter was sent, for example a registered mail slip.
A grant will be stopped if it is found that you provided information to SASSA that is known to be untrue to get the grant in the first place. It will also be stopped if it is discovered that you failed to inform SASSA of changes in your circumstances (for example, you start earning a big salary or you are no longer disabled) which would disqualify you from receiving the grant. Providing misleading information constitutes fraud and SASSA can claim any money that has been overpaid back from you. SASSA will send 90 days written notice of their intention to investigate. The beneficiary can respond to provide the necessary information within a further 90 days. If they do not do so, or if it is not acceptable to SASSA, then the beneficiary will be given 90 days notice of SASSA’s intention to suspend the grant. No notice of a suspension needs to be given if the grant was approved based on fraudulent information, or was approved in error.
SASSA Fraud Hotline is Tel: 0800 601011 or Fax: 0800611011
There are thousands of private welfare and service organisations in South Africa. Just a few of the bigger organisations that have branches all over the country are mentioned here. It is useful to have up-to-date lists of the local organisations in your area.
The Child and family Welfare Society deals with adoption, foster care and children's homes; protection and homes for destitute, neglected, physically or sexually abused children; and educare facilities. They train care-givers, and run [delete] community development and intervention programmes. Counselling and support groups are usually available for children and parents.
This is a non-profit organisation that helps to build and maintain good relationships in the family, in marriage and in the community. They offer a variety of services including counselling (advice) and education to individuals, groups and organisations about family relationships.
These are some of their activities:
View their website: www.famsa.org.za
NICRO is a national crime prevention non-profit organisation working towards a safer South Africa. It has offices in all the provinces in South Africa.
NICRO runs a number of projects and programmes to support their aims. These are:
View their website: www.nicro.org.za
There are many problems that people have when they apply for grants. There are also problems that people have relating to the payment of grants or lapsing of grants. These are some of the problems, and some things you can do about them.
The Promotion of Administrative Justice Act (No 3 of 2000) (also called PAJA) is an important Act that says everybody has a right to administrative justice that is lawful, reasonable and procedurally fair.
All government departments and their officials and private people who exercise public powers or perform public functions have to comply with the PAJA.
‘Procedural fairness’ means –
An administrative action is a decision that affects the rights of –
There are different procedures that an administrator has to follow in each of these cases and different actions that can be taken if an official doesn’t follow the requirements and procedures of the PAJA. These are dealt with in more detail in Chapter 1. Constitution and Bill of Rights.
See Section 33: Just Administrative Action. (2011 Edition)
'My application for a grant was turned down.
But I am sure that I do qualify for a grant.'
If your application was refused, you should get a letter from SASSA, giving reasons why you were turned down. If you feel your application was turned down unfairly, you can appeal against the decision. This means you can ask someone higher up to look at your application again. In order to appeal you must write a letter to the Minister of Social Development. The letter must explain when and where your application was turned down, why it was turned down, and why you don’t agree with the decision. In other words, you must give reasons why you think you qualify for a grant. You must state that this is your appeal. Other requirements include:
- The appeal must be in writing;
- The appeal must be sent to the Minister of Social Development;
- The appeal must be sent within 90 days of receiving the letter of rejection (notification); if the time limit has passed, you will have to reapply for a grant, and then when it is turned down, you can appeal within 90 days
See Stage 3: Appeals Process.
'The SASSA officer told me I must have a bank account before I apply for a grant. She said I must come back in 2 or 3 months. But then I will lose 2 or 3 months grant money.'This is wrong. A grant beneficiary does not need a bank account. The SASSA officer cannot stop a person applying for a grant because they do not have a bank account.
The Sassa official says I must pay him for helping me to apply for my grant.'
This is wrong. All applications for grants are free. There is no payment required for any grant application. Nobody needs to be paid at all.
If any of these people ask you for money, you can lodge a complaint with SASSA or report them to the police.
'I applied for my grant four months ago and I have still not heard anything.'
If you do not hear anything after three months, you must go to the payout point or check your bank or building society account to see if your money is there.
If your money is not there, you must take action. You can go to the SASSA officer and ask when the money will come and why it is taking so long.
You can write to the SASSA office at the provincial administration in your province, or you can write to the Director General or Minister of Social Development. In your letter you must ask for written reasons why your application has not been processed. Getting written reasons is your legal right. Always give your grant number (your grant number is often just your ID number.) You can get the help of an advice giver or lawyer. But do not make another application.
While you are waiting and you cannot survive, you should be able to get some money or food for the months that you are waiting, from the office where you applied. This is called a Social Relief of Distress Grant. It will be deducted from your grant once you get it. Take your ID book and your receipt of application with you to the office when you go to ask for relief.
See Social Relief of Distress Award
‘Must I apply for a new grant if I move from one place to another?’
If a person moves from one place to another, the grant can be moved. The beneficiary must however inform the SASSA officer about the move. There is a special form to sign to transfer your grant. The SASSA officer must arrange to have the grant paid in the new place. There should not be a delay.
Ravi wants to apply for a Disability Grant and Child Support Grants for his children. Unfortunately he does not have an identity document and none of his children have birth certificates although he has applied for these. On this basis he was refused grants by SASSA.See Social Relief of Distress Award.
SASSA should have told Ravi that he was entitled to receive a Social Relief of Distress Award while he was waiting for his documents to be processed.
Futhi has applied for a Social Relief of Distress Award. During the assessment the SASSA official decided that she could receive vouchers for food as well as water and electricity. She was told she could use the voucher to buy food at approved shops in her area. When Futhi went to buy food from one of the shops, she is told that they won’t accept the voucher because they say the Department takes too long to pay them out for the vouchers. What should she do?’
Futhi should immediately report this shop to SASSA and they will have to take steps to ensure that her vouchers are accepted by all accredited service providers.
See Social Relief of Distress Award. (2011 Edition)
John receives an Older Person’s Grant. He is however very sickly and cannot look after himself. He needs a person who can care for him on a fulltime basis.John can apply for a Grant-in-Aid which he can get in addition to his Older Person’s Grant.
'I gave my daughter power of attorney to fetch my grant. She has not given me the full grant amount for the last two months. I want to change procurators, what do I do. '
The beneficiary must write a letter to SASSA explaining that they want to stop the current procurator and the effective date. If the beneficiary is unable to read or write then SASSA can obtain a sworn statement to this effect. The procurator whose power of attorney has been stopped has ten days to transfer any outstanding money to the beneficiary. new application for appointing a procurator will need to be made. Generally SASSA would review the power of attorney from time to time when they review the older person’s grant.See Can another person fetch an applicant’s grant? for an explanation of ‘power of attorney’.
'I could not collect my money last month because I was sick. When I went this month the SASSA officer said my grant had stopped because no-one collected it last time.'
This is wrong. A grant only stops if it is not collected for 3 consecutive months. If the SASSA office fails to pay you what is owing, you must lodge a complaint to the head of the Regional SASSA office in your province.
'Last month the officials at the SASSA paypoint said they had run out of money. Many of us did not get our grants.'
All applicants who are affected by this should go together to the Regional SASSA office and complain. If you are not satisfied you must write to the Minister of Social Development and report the complaint.
'I only got my first payment 6 months after I applied.
They only paid me two month's grant money.'
You are supposed to get back pay from the date of your application. This is why it is important to get a receipt of the application when you apply for a grant. Then you have proof of the date you applied. If you have this receipt, you can write to the Regional SASSA office and ask for the four months back pay.
'At the payout point the SASSA officers are always very rude to us. They do not help us or tell us the right information.'
The law requires SASSA officers to treat people with dignity and provide them with correct information. The Batho Pele Principles also require that eight service delivery principles be implemented by all public servants.
If you are not satisfied, you should lodge a complaint with the District or Regional SASSA office. If you are still not satisfied you can write to the Minister of Social Development.
See Batho Pele Principles
Namhla cares for a child whose mother is deceased. The Social Worker assisted her with getting a foster care court order for the child for 2 years. After this Namhla applied for and received a Foster Care Grant. Two years later the grant is terminated because the Social Worker did not extend the foster care order in terms of the Children’s Act. What can Namhla do?According to a recent court case, SASSA is required to pay all foster care orders even though they have lapsed and the Dept of Social Development is required in terms of the court ruling to deal administratively with the matter. Therefore Namhla is still able to receive the foster care grant while the social worker and the DSD deals with her grant and the foster care order.
Vicky receives a Disability Grant as she is unable to work. After she has been receiving the grant for a number of years, Vicky gets married. Her spouse is earning well above the income threshold of the means test. Vicky continues to receive her grant and fails to tell the SASSA office of her change in circumstances.
If the circumstances of a grant beneficiary change she or he must report this to a SASSA official. Failure to do this may mean that a beneficiary is guilty of fraud.
In terms of the law, if SASSA has paid more money to a grant beneficiary than they should have received, the beneficiary will have to repay the amount that was overpaid In addition to having to repay the money, the person who has received the money will be guilty of committing an act of fraud which is a criminal offence.
Ms van der Merwe is taking care of her granddaughter while her son is working in another town. He sends his mother an amount of R1000 every month for the care of his daughter. Mrs van der Merwe cannot manage with this money so she goes to SASSA to apply for a CSG grant. The SASSA official refuses to take the application as Mrs van der Merwe is already being paid to care for the child.
The SASSA official is wrong. The grandmother is the primary caregiver and if she qualifies in terms of the means test she should be able to access the CSG. As Mrs. van der Merwe receives R1000, which is under the maximum allowed in terms of the means test, she will still qualify for the CSG.
Letter of appeal
Our Ref: _____
1) The Social Security Agency for South Africa
(Fill in address)
2) Independent Tribunal for Social Assistance Appeals (ITSAA) on behalf of The Minister of Social Development (If your client is not satisfied with the outcome of SASSA they may appeal to the Minister within 90 days)
(Fill in the address)
Re: Mr/Mrs. XXX with ID no. 000000000000000 lodging an appeal in terms of Section 18(1) of the Social Assistance Act 13 of 2004:
In our capacity as (paralegal caseworkers) we confirm that we assist the above mentioned client to lodge an appeal in term of Section 18 of the Social Assistance Act 13 of 2004. Ms/Mr. [name] has nominated our offices to follow up and receive all correspondence relating to this appeal.
Kindly take note that Ms/Mr. [name] lodged all relevant documentation during the application procedure with SASSA. We herewith ask for an investigation into the appeal the furnishing of reasons of the decision for rejection of the application to Mrs/Mr XXX. We further ask for an appeal hearing date within 30 days of your office receiving this appeal.
Mrs/Mr. XX believe that the service centre officer of SASSA or the appeal division in SASSA did not apply her/his mind to the records presented and therefore base this appeal on the following;
(In this section the client must explain the reasons he/she believe entitles them to the grant, what records they have to support their case etc.)
We trust this appeal application is in order and await the date of the appeal.
Letter to the Regional SASSA office
This is a letter explaining that the Power of Attorney has been renewed, and asking for all grant payments that were kept back to be paid to the client.
The Regional SASSA Officer
Dear Madam / Sir
(put in the client's name, identity number and grant number, and the name of the person who has power of attorney to collect the grant for the client)
We have been approached for assistance by the abovementioned pensioner/disabled person who was in receipt of an Old Age Pension/Disability Grant/War Veteran's Pension until payments were stopped on______________________ .(put in the date)
We understand that payments were stopped because our client Mr/Ms _______________________ (put in the client's name) failed to renew the Power of Attorney as required.
The Power of Attorney has now been renewed and accordingly there is now no impediment to continued grant payments.
In the circumstances, would you ensure that on the next payout date the grant is paid as normal together with the sum of R __________________________ (put in the amount of back grant that is owed) being arrears since date of last payment.
We regret that should the matter not be settled as set out above, we shall have no alternative but to take legal action.
Saamwerk Advice Centre
Reference No: 135/09
NAME OF CLIENT
Identity Number: __
We write to you on behalf of the above-mentioned client.
S/he is in need of temporary material assistance.Our client is currently: (select only what is relevant and delete the rest BEFORE printing
Awaiting permanent aid
Medically unfit to undertake remunerative work. This has been the case for a period less than 6 months
Entitled to maintenance from a person obliged to pay maintenance
A member of a household of which the breadwinner is deceased and insufficient means are available
A member of a household of which the breadwinner has been admitted to an institution for less than 6 months
Affected by a disaster or emergency, although the area of the community in which he/she lives has not yet been declared as a disaster area
Not receiving assistance from any other organisation
Appealing the suspension of his/her grant
Not a member of a household that is already receiving social assistance
Entitled to relief in terms of the regulations which hold that a person may be
granted relief in exceptional circumstances.
It would be appreciated if you could assist our client in the application for this alleviation award by ensuring that his/her application gets processed speedily. S/he is in serious need of social assistance and this would ensure that his/her difficult circumstances are not prolonged.
Should you decide not to grant our client a Social Relief of Distress Award, kindly provide written reasons for such refusal.
1. Name and address of person applying for a grant.
2. What kind of grant does the person want to apply for?
3. What income and assets does the person have?
4. Will the person pass the means test?
5. Will the person qualify for the grant?
6. Is the person disqualified by any special regulation?
Social grants for adults 18 years and older
Child support grant
If the person received a grant payment in the past, but payment has stopped
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