SASSA has shared a glum update on their current financial status – with recipients of the Temporary Disability Social Grants set to face more misery this month. The agency claims that this specific payment – which helps to support citizens who are unable to work due to their impairments – ‘can no longer be funded automatically’.
The last official payment date for this social grant was 31 December. The scheme will not be renewed in its current form from January onwards. Instead, those dependent on the support fund have been told to reapply for the monthly payments by visiting a SASSA office. Applicants are also required to bring a ‘detailed referral report’ from a registered doctor.
This move has left over 200 000 people in the lurch, and in the midst of a pandemic, such a decision seems relatively unfathomable: Hundreds of thousands of vulnerable people must now venture out in public, to stand in long queues, while the second wave of COVID-19 – and a new variant – are spreading like wildfire. The move has elicited outrage online.
SASSA issued a statement about the matter earlier this week, confirming they were unable to find ‘additional funds of R1.2bn’ to let the scheme continue in its current form.
“At the end of December 2020, Sassa suspended a total of 210 778 disability grants nationally, as the extended period for which they were awarded had expired. To have continued payment of the grants until end March 2021 would have cost an additional R1.2 billion, which funds are not available.”
“[Recipients] can apply for the renewal of the expired Temporary Disability Grant at the nearest SASSA office. Affected citizens must also bring a detailed referral report from their treating doctor, which confirms the impact of the medical condition or disability.”