Applying for a social grant


Where can you apply?

You can apply at the nearest SASSA local or counter service point of a district office in your area.

When can you apply?

You can apply from Monday to Friday but some service points are only open on certain days of the week or month.

*Check with your local counter service point for opening times.

What can you use for proof of identity?

Proof of identity, South African citizenship and age:

Adults

  • A  South African 13-digit bar-coded identity book (ID),

OR

  • A temporary South African identity document from the Department of Home Affairs
  • As a refugee, you should have a refugee identity document OR a refugee status permit together with proof of having applied for an identity document from the Department of Home Affairs.
  • Where adults act on behalf of others in applying for or receiving a grant (i.e. are ‘procurators’) they need identity documents of any country, or a passport, or a driver’s licence.

Children

  • As a South African citizen, they should have a birth certificate with a 13-digit identity number which was issued free of charge immediately after the registration of their birth at any Home Affairs service point.
  • As a South African citizen over 16 years old, they should have a South African 13 digit bar-coded identity document.
  • As a permanent resident, they should have a birth certificate OR a South African 13-digit bar-coded identity document if they are over 16.
  • As a ‘documented’ or ‘undocumented’ foreign national child, they should have a birth certificate, identity document or passport from their country of origin.If you do not have these, their biological or foster parent or primary caregiver should make an affidavit and apply for a birth certificate at the Department of Home Affairs

          make sure you obtain a receipt of the application

Alternative identification documents

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

  • A sworn statement (an affidavit) on a form provided by SASSA, and, where available
  • Proof of having applied for formal identity documentation from Home Affairs

These could also be supported by

  • A sworn statement by a reputable person (like a councillor, traditional leader, social worker, priest, school principal) who verifies that he/she knows the person, and/or
  • Other documents like baptismal certificates, school reports, clinic cards etc

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.

How do you apply for a grant?

There are three stages in the process of applying for a grant:

  1. Application process: Filling in the application forms, taking fingerprints, interview with SASSA officer (2 hours)
  2. Notification process: Letter of approval or rejection (less than 3months)
  3. Appeals process: Appeals of the decision (within 90 days of receiving a letter of rejection)

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.

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.

In addition, if you are applying for a Disability Grant, the following steps will be taken:

  • The SASSA officer will send you to a state medical doctor or a doctor contracted by SASSA for a medical examination to assess your disability. You should show all medical records, even old records from another doctor or hospital to the doctor.
  • You must take the doctor’s certificate or assessment panel’s report back to the SASSA officer.Please check the correct procedure with your SASSA office. In some cases when the application process is completed, you will get a receipt and a copy of the completed application form. This receipt is the only proof of application that you have and should therefore be kept safe. Check that the following is on the receipt: date of application, official stamp, name of applicant, and name of SASSA officer. However, in other places SASSA will collect the form and it will not be given to you.
  • Please note that the medical assessment is free of charge for the applicant.

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.

Can another person make the application on behalf of an applicant?

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.

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.

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.

*Information obtained courtesy –Blacksash

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