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Growing old is something most of us can’t run away from, and not everyone is privileged enough to have help from their children or have retirement plans in place or money laid aside to help during retirement. In some cases, the income received after retirement from living or life annuities is just not enough to sustain a person for the rest of their lifetime. It is very easy for one to stress about how exactly they will survive with peanuts after retirement. Luckily there is some hope as there are provisions for old people via the old age grant.
Who does it apply to?
The old age grant is a social security grant provided by the government to people over the age of 60 years at no cost. This grant applies to South African citizens, foreigners who have become permanent residents in South Africa, and refugees. It is only available to people who do not have any existing social grants, are not receiving any care from a state institution (rehabilitation center, prison, old age home), do not own any assets worth more than R1 227 600 if single or R2 455 200 if married and earn less than R86 280 per annum if single or R172 560 combined income per annum if married.
After following all the application procedures and submitting all the documentation required, South Africa Social Assistance (SASSA) will evaluate the applicant’s assets and income to determine whether they qualify for the social grant. If the grant is not approved, it is possible to appeal at the National Department of Social Development.
Once the grant is approved you will start receiving a monthly income from the date on which you applied. The maximum income to be received is R1 985 per month and if you are above 75 you receive R2 005 per month. The grant can be received through different channels like institutions (old age homes), an electronic deposit or it can be received as cash on a particular day at a specific pay point. We know that sometimes aging comes with sickness that limits movement, so the good thing about this grant is that even if you are not able to collect it yourself, it is possible to appoint a procurator at the SASSA office or a power of attorney who can collect it on your behalf.
It is possible for SASSA to decide to review your grant, and that is dependent on the assets and income that you declared upon application. Your grant may be suspended if the conditions apply:
- a mistake upon approval of a grant
- outcome of a review
- failure to co-operate when your grant is reviewed
- committing fraud and misrepresentation of self
- change in circumstances
Your grant can also lapse if you are admitted to a state institution, if you do not claim it for three consecutive months, if you are absent from the country and if you, unfortunately, pass away. If it happens that you are admitted to an institution and that institution has a contract with the state to take care of you then you may only receive 75% of the maximum amount of the grant and the full grant is re-instated immediately after being discharged.
The SASSA old age grant is a relief to the less privileged and the vulnerable households because not only does it provide for the old people, but in some cases, it also provides for the dependents of those old people. Therefore, bringing hope by lessening the burden on our pensioners.
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