tame Times Fresh Approach to local news
Glendower
Glendower

Tag: SASSA Grants

sassa

A million SASSA recipients can now ‘skip queues’ – new booking system

Up to one million social grant recipients will be able to book medical appointments with SASSA online from this week onwards after the Department of Social Development partnered with GovChat to help ‘streamline’ the agency.

SOME SASSA GRANT RECIPIENTS CAN NOW ‘SKIP THE QUEUES’

The new system will allow any of the 997 000 people claiming disability grants in SA to arrange a time and date for their medical assessments. That means there will be fewer ‘speculative’ trips to local SASSA offices, in the hope that a healthcare professional can see a client before the end of a long day queuing up. Minister Lindiwe Zulu declared:

“The online booking will address challenges associated with long queues at local offices and ensure that SASSA complies with COVID-19 regulations. The online booking will also address challenges associated with long queues at local offices and ensure that SASSA complies with COVID-19 regulations.” | Lindiwe Zulu

SUPER USEFUL THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT THE NEW ONLINE BOOKING SYSTEM – FOR DISABILITY GRANTS ONLY

  • – You can access the online booking portal by visiting https://www.sassa.gov.za/Pages/Disability-Grant.aspx
  • – There are eight criteria South African applicants will have to meet – and they’ve been listed here.
  • – You will also need to join GovChat and create a profile, in order to book your medical assessment with SASSA.
  • – According to Lindiwe Zulu, up to 25 full-time staff are being trained to manage this pilot scheme:

“I don’t want to see hundreds of thousands of people standing in queues, hence the reason why we launched this online application – because it means people can be able to apply from home.”

“We’ve trained probably 10 out of 25 people but the training is going to be a long-term training because this is a pilot project, it means we need to be able to train people in all the Sassa offices. We might even use volunteers.”

sassa

Disability grants ‘to be reinstated’ – but only for these people

One of the provincial branches of SASSA has confirmed that the temporary disability grants ‘will be reinstated nationwide’ but only for certain applicants.  This came after the agency made the hugely unpopular decision to cancel the automatic renewal of the payments. Thousands have already had their lapsed social grants repaid – but not everyone will benefit from this new policy.

According to SASSA, there are three factors that need to be taken into consideration before the temporary disability grants are renewed: It comes down to an applicant’s age, financial support, and dependency on others to collect their payments.

An individual can expect their lapsed grant to be reinstated if they fall into any of the following categories:

  • Those aged 59 or older.
  • People who get their temporary disability grant along with an ‘aid grant’ – due to the severity of their conditions.
  • Any applicants with ‘nominated procurators’ for their social grants.
  • SASSA spokesperson in KZN, Sandy Godlwana, says 3 874 recipients ‘have already got their grants back in KZN’.

Meanwhile, the conduct of Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu has once again been questioned. With SASSA falling under her portfolio, the Cabinet member has taken a lot of criticism for the agency’s failings. Sharna Fernandez, of the Western Cape Government, is shocked that Zulu is continuing to evade accountability:

“Despite my request to convene an urgent special meeting with all MECs present, to address the series of ongoing challenges faced by SASSA, the National Minister of Social Development, Ms Lindiwe Zulu, has failed to respond.”

“I am worried about the lack of urgency to address valid concerns, which include amongst others; whether there are plans to address the immediate needs of many applicants, who desperately require emergency assistance.”

“We need urgent clarity on the abovementioned concerns, as our most vulnerable citizens continue to bear the brunt SASSA’s incompetence and obfuscation in this matter. I am yet to receive a formal response from SASSA, either.”

Sharna Fernandez

SASSA queues: Calls for minister to resign

The national opposition and the Western Cape government have both demanded that Lindiwe Zulu – the Social Development Minister – is held accountable for a chaotic approach to managing the temporary disability grants. The payments lapsed this month, leaving hundreds of thousands of SASSA clients without financial support.

Things have unravelled extremely quickly for SASSA, culminating in some disheartening scenes on Tuesday afternoon. Huge queues formed outside of the department’s offices in the Western Cape and KZN, creating some very serious health concerns during this pandemic. The story of how we got here is beyond bemusing…

  • This month, SASSA suspended more than 210 000 temporary disability grants and care dependency grants.
  • Persons with disabilities were told they would have to reapply for their grants ‘in-person’, despite soaring COVID-19 rates.
  • Applicants were also informed to bring an updated medical note with them, approved by a registered doctor.
  • This chaotic plan caused massive queues outside SASSA offices, creating potential super-spreader events.
  • Elderly and infirmed recipients have been left to sleep on the streets, and wait in lines for hours in the scorching heat.

The DA, as you would expect, isn’t best pleased with the sight of desperate citizens having risk their own well-being to prove they are entitled to this disability grant from SASSA. Bridget Masango is the Shadow Minister for Social Development, and she has issued an ultimatum: “Zulu must face a Parliamentary inquiry, or resign…”

“While South Africa is struggling to cope with a second wave resurgence of Covid-19 infections, hundreds of desperate and vulnerable social grant beneficiaries queued for hours at South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) offices across the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal to re-apply for their lapsed disability grants.”

“The massive queues at SASSA offices are potential Covid-19 super spreaders and Lindiwe Zulu must take full responsibility for how all of this has unfolded. Minister Zulu to come of hiding and appear before Parliament to account for her failures. If she cannot do this, the minister must step down.”

DA Shadow Minister for Social Development, Bridget Masango

These changes have taken a serious toll in the Western Cape, where over 50 000 people have had their relief funds stopped. More than 25% of the temporary disability grants go to citizens in this province, and Gillion Bosman – a representative of the regional government – has accused Lindiwe Zulu of ‘violating basic human rights’.

“For residents of the Western Cape, and Minister Lindiwe Zulu is allowing for the lapse of at least 52 000 disability grants. This number represents the very means to live for persons with disabilities in the province, who will be unable to access the funds they need to survive. This is unacceptable, and tantamount to an infringement on the rights of residents.”

“The lapsing of these grants has led to a desperate situation. Individuals have to seek medical certificates and reapply at SASSA application venues, all at a time when our health sector is under strain and Covid-19 infections are rife – but more resources are put into patrolling quiet beaches than ensuring Covid-19 protocols are being followed at SASSA offices.”

DA Western Cape Spokesperson on Social Development, Gillion Bosman

sassa

Two SASSA grants to lapse this month

The South African Social Security Agency (SASSA), on Wednesday 2 December, announced that the Temporary Disability and Care Dependency Grants will lapse on 31 December 2020.

Temporary Disability grants that lapsed from 1 February were extended to 31 December 2020. Care Dependency Grants for children who turned 18 years during the period of February to December 2020 were also extended to 31 December 2020.

Minister of Social Development Lindiwe Zulu took the decision to extend the SASSA grants to 31 December 2020 in response to the declared State of Disaster which made it difficult for beneficiaries to apply for social grants, especially those requiring medical assessments because of the limited access to health facilities.

These two grants will now lapse on 31 December 2020, according to the agency.

Beneficiaries of the Temporary Disability Grants who feel that their medical condition still prevents them from working are advised to approach their nearest SASSA Local Office from 5 January 2021 to re-apply.

“It must be understood that this is not a review process, but a new application, as temporary disability grants are awarded for a specific period only,” SASSA said in a statement.

Caregivers of children whose Care Dependency grants will lapse on 31 December 2020 are also requested to approach SASSA local offices from 5 January 2021 to apply for Disability grants for the young adults.

“Both the above categories of beneficiaries are requested to bring along clinical records pertaining to the medical conditions of applicants when applying,” it added.

Courtesy letters informing beneficiaries of the lapsing of their social grants have already been posted. Affected beneficiaries are, therefore, requested to respond to these letters as soon as they are able to do so.

All COVID-19 precautionary measures, including screening of both clients and SASSA staff, sanitisation, wearing of masks and social distancing, will continue to be observed at all times.

“SASSA will endeavour to limit the time applicants have to spend in queues waiting for service, as much as practically possible,” it said.

“Caregivers of children whose Care Dependency Grants will lapse are not required to bring the children to SASSA Local Offices but should come to undertake the application process as the proxy for their children,” it added.

About Tame Times

Tame Communications (known as tameTIMES) was established in 1997. This long-established popular community title includes the key shopping centres:  Alberton City, Mall...

Get in Touch