Authorities bows to strain on disability grants

By Baldwin Ndaba 4h ago

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Johannesburg – The government has agreed to renew requests for temporary disability grants in response to increasing pressure from opposition parties and civil society organizations.

On Sunday, Sassa urged the more than 200,000 beneficiaries of potential temporary disability grants who failed to meet the December deadline to reapply for the grants.

The announcement came after DA Social Development Spokeswoman Bridget Masango threatened to write to Portfolio Social Development Committee Chair Mondli Gungubele to urgently request a meeting to address the looming disability grant crisis, where the Minister for Social Development, Lindiwe Zulu, has to explain how her department wanted to deal with the crisis.

Masango also wanted Zulu to guarantee that grant revaluation deadlines would be extended to at least March.

Temporary disability grants, which were due to expire from February last year, have been extended to 31 December last year to cushion affected beneficiaries against the pressure caused by the state of the national disaster and the subsequent lockdown. The costs for the further payment of the grants amount to more than 1.5 billion Rl.

Sassa spokeswoman Paseka Letsatsi said Sunday that the government would have to spend an additional R1 1.2 billion to continue paying the grants through the end of March.

“A disability grant can either be a permanent grant that may or may not be subject to medical review after a period of time. Permanent disability grants are granted for conditions that affect the applicant’s ability to work for a period of more than 12 months.

“If treatment or other interventions are likely to improve the disability or health, the grant can be granted for a temporary period of between 6 and 12 months. After this time, the grant will be forfeited under the conditions set out in the Social Assistance Act 2004, ”said Letsatsi.

He said the re-application would require a new medical assessment that would confirm whether the condition warranted granting.

Letsatsi said Sassa staff would then pull up the customer’s personal and contact details and contact them to confirm when they could return to the office to complete the process.

He said the information in the referral letter would be used to inform the Sassa doctor, who in turn would have to conduct an assessment and recommend whether the grant should be awarded.

Sassa would decide whether the grant would be awarded after considering all factors, including medical assessment, and using means testing.

The new award can be temporary or permanent, depending on the circumstances of the applicant.

“It is important for any disability grant applicant to know that they have the right to ask Sassa to reconsider the decision if the grant is granted or not approved for a temporary period.

“This must be done within 90 days of notification of the result of the application. If the revised decision is still unfavorable, the applicant has the right to appeal to the Independent Appeals Tribunal. Again, this must be done within 90 days of receiving the covered result, ”said Letsatsi.

He said Sassa will continue to do everything in his power to provide services to those who need them, adding that all citizens and employees visiting Sassa’s offices are required to adhere to Covid’s health protocols.

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