South African Social Security, SASSA pension or older persons grant or state old-age pension ensures individuals are provided for in their old age. It meets its mandate by availing funds or income to 60-year-old refugees, permanent residents, and citizens who do not have an alternative source of financial income month-on-month. Simply put, this grant is purposed to cater to the financial needs of older people in South African society.
Qualification Criteria for SASSA Pension
Do I qualify for SASSA pension? To qualify for the older persons grant in South Africa, you:
- Have to be a permanent resident, South African citizen, or a refugee
- Must live in the Republic of South Africa
- Should not be getting another social grant
- Must be 60 years old and above
- Are not a resident or being cared for in any state institution
- As a married individual, you should not possess assets with a total value of R2 455 200 and above or R1 227 600, if you are single
- Your spouse should act in accordance with the means test
- You should not earn above R172 560 if you are married or R86 280 if you are single
- Must submit a verifiable identification document (ID)
What Is Means Test?
Fundamentally, people whose monthly income does not meet a certain threshold will qualify for the older persons grant. The means test is a method of examining a person’s qualification for this grant. Essentially, SASSA examines the assets and income of the individual applying for the grant to determine their eligibility for the pension. This ensures people who can’t meet their needs are the only ones who get the grant every month.
How much is SASSA pension per month?
What is the new SASSA pension amount? Well, the specific monthly income, qualified individuals are set to receive changes on a yearly basis. Even so, the current maximum monthly income that individuals older than 60 years but younger than 75 years old can receive is R1980. People older than 75 will receive R2000 per month. Any changes to these amounts are made apparent at the opening of parliament or during the national budget speech.
How to Apply for the Grant
Qualifying individuals can apply for the grant at any closest SASSA office. There, you will fill out a form and provide the following documents and information:
- Verifiable/legal identification card. In case you do not have an ID card, you have to:
- Fill in an affidavit on a form provided to you by SASSA. Fill out this form in the sight of a commissioner of oaths who is not SASSA official
- Provide a sworn statement appended by an individual of high repute such as a school principal, minister of religion, traditional leader, councilor, or social worker. The individual should be able to verify your personal information (age and name)
- Your fingerprint will be taken by SASSA official. You’ll then be sent to apply for an ID at the Department of Home Affairs even in the course of your application process. In case you do not receive your identification card, your grant application will be suspended.
- Where necessary, show proof of your marital status
- Show proof of dividends or income
- Provide proof of address
- Submit your last 3-months bank statement
- Provide proof of all your assets together with the value of all the properties in your possession
- A copy of your spouse’s death certificate, in case you lost your spouse less than 5 years ago. Also provide their will, last and first distribution, and liquidation accounts where necessary.
- Provide a discharge certificate from your last employer or Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) (‘blue book’) if you were employed
You must complete the application form in the presence of SASSA official because only you or the officer can complete the form. The officer will then interview you and tell you if you qualify for the grant or not. You will be handed a receipt at the end of the application process as proof of application. Keep it safe, you might use it if need be.
If you are very sick or too old to make the trip to SASSA offices, you can send someone with a letter from you or your doctor explaining why you could not make it.
Application Processing Time
The application process might take up to 3 months. However, if your grant application is accepted, you will start receiving funds from the date you applied for the grant. In case your grant application is turned down, you will receive an explanation in writing explaining why it has been declined. In the same vein, you will also get directions on how to appeal within 90 days of being notified.
When Will Your Grant Be Cancelled
The SASSA pension will be canceled if:
- You die
- You’re taken into a state institution, or
- Your assets and income improve significantly that you do not pass the means test
Therefore, you must update the authorities in case of a change in your circumstances.
NOTE: In the event of admission into a care institution that has a contract with the government, your social grant will reduce by 75% of the prevailing maximum payable grant per month. These changes will take effect after four months of admission into the said facility. However, the reduced amount will be reinstated instantly after you are discharged from the care facility.
When Will Your Grant Be Suspended
Your SASSA pension will be suspended if:
- Your circumstances change for the better
- The results of a review show a result necessitating the suspension of your grant
- You misrepresent yourself or commit a fraud
- Mistakes occurred at the time of grant approval
- You fail to comply during the review of your grant
When Will Your Grant Lapse
Your grant will lapse under the following conditions:
- If you depart and stay away from the Republic of South Africa for 90 days and above
- When you are admitted into a state facility that is funded by the government, such as a prison, rehabilitation center e.t.c
- The last day of the month you die
- You are admitted from a psychiatric and remain in the facility for more than 6 months
You, the applicant, must declare all assets and income when applying for the grant. Doing this will dictate the frequency of review. If you do not declare all your assets and income, SASSA might suspend your grant altogether.
SASSA reviews your situation to ensure you meet the qualifying criteria to receive the grant. They essentially ensure that your circumstances have remained constant since you applied for the grant or since the last review. Reviews also ensure you are still alive. In case a review shows a change in circumstance, SASSA might take a different direction from the initial one.
Before a review occurs, SASSA sends you a written notification detailing the date and venue a review will take place. They will also point out their expectations or what may happen during the meeting. In the event a beneficiary is bedridden, SASSA conducts home visits. After the review is complete, you are awarded a receipt of compliance.
Due to the need for reviews, you have to update SASSA on your current address, even when you move. This is because, SASSA correspondents visit the last address you provided in your application.
Payment Methods and Details
You will receive this grant from SASSA in one of the following ways:
- Institutions such as the care/old age home
- Cash at pre-selected pay points during specific days of the week
- Electronic deposit to a post bank (may attract a fee) or your bank.
In the event you are not able to get the money on your own, you may assign someone the power of an attorney or appoint SASSA official to collect the money for you.
Money sent through banks will attract normal bank fees. As such, you should be fully aware of the cost associated with using a given payment method before committing yourself. Additionally, you can fill out a form at the welfare office to change your payment method. However, these changes will only take effect a month after your application date.
SASSA Contact Information
If you have any inquiries, you can reach SASSA through their toll-free line 0800 601 011. On this line, you will get assistance on:
- How to report corruption or fraud
- Finding out what might have happened with your application
- Getting information on payout dates
- Learning qualifying criteria for all the government grants
- District office contact numbers and address
Note: SASAA does not tolerate any fraudulent activities. As such, you should always update the institution in case of any change in your circumstance.
You can also contact SASSA Western Cape through:
- Tel: 021 469 0200
- Fax: 021 469 0260
- Postal Address: Private Bag X9189, Cape Town, 8000
- Street Address: Golden Acre, Adderley Street, Cape Town, 8001
SASSA pension is a good way of ensuring even the old living in South Africa are catered for financially. Use this guide to get started in your SASSA pension application process today.