For Immediate Release – 6th May 2009
The Black Sash is deeply concerned about the low uptake of the ‘Older Person’s Grant’ (or ‘State Old Age Pension’) by needy men aged 61 and 62. According to statistics provided by the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA), we estimate that only around half (50%) of those eligible have applied for the R1,010.00 a month grant since the government amended legislation to include them last month.
The legislation – lowering the age of eligibility for men from 63 to 61 years of age – came into effect on the 1st of April (2009). This brings men a step closer to equality with women who are able to apply for an Older Person’s Grant when they turn 60.
The Black Sash urges all elderly men earning less than R2 426 a month (the current income threshold), to apply for the grant when they turn 61 by filling in an application form at their nearest SASSA office. Black Sash Advocacy Programme Manager, Ratula Beukman, says, “You don’t need to pay anything to apply for the grant and if you cannot make the application yourself, a home visit can be arranged. SASSA legally has three months from the date of application to start paying the grant once it has been approved. Your payments will be backdated to the day you applied for the grant.“
The Black Sash would also like to remind elderly people that they can now apply for the Older Person’s Grant even if they don’t have a bar-coded ID book or birth certificate. As of June last year, SASSA is obliged by law to accept social grant applications from eligible applicants who don’t have any of these documents. All they need is a sworn statement signed by a reputable person (like a counsellor, traditional leader, social worker, priest or school principle) who can verify that he/she knows them and can testify to details such as their name and age. All applicants are also entitled to receive ‘Social Relief of Distress’ (SRD) while they wait for their approved application to be processed. Any SRD payments they receive will, however, be deducted from their grant money when it gets paid out.
The Black Sash appeals to all those who experience any difficulty applying for the Older Person’s Grant to contact one of our regional offices for FREE paralegal support and advice (contact details listed below).
Please click on the following link to read and print out our FACT SHEET on the STATE OLD AGE PENSION (outlining the rights and responsibilities of those applying for the grant: http://www.blacksash.org.za/images/docs/youandolderpersonsgrant09.pdf
For more information or interview requests, please contact:
Black Sash Advocacy Programme Manager
Black Sash Media Officer
NOTE TO COMMUNITY RADIO PROGRAMME MANAGERS:
The Black Sash continues to be grateful for your collective and steadfast commitment and contribution to making our communities more aware of their socio-economic rights. We would be delighted if you could assist us again by accommodating the ‘presenter read’ below into your programming schedule over the next few weeks. Please insert the contact details of your nearest Black Sash office (listed below) so that your listeners can call us for FREE paralegal advice and support.
PRESENTER READ - 'STATE OLD AGE PENSION' - MAY 2009
Do you know that men in need of financial support can now apply for a ‘State Old Age Pension’ when they turn 61? On the first of April this year, the government lowered the age of eligibility – from 63 to 61-years-old – for men who earn less than R2,426.00 (two-thousand, four-hundred and twenty-six rand) a month. Even if you don’t have an ID book or birth certificate, you can still apply for the monthly state pension of R1010 (one-thousand and ten Rand) at your nearest SASSA office. Call the Black Sash for FREE paralegal advice and support if you have any problems with your application. The Black Sash - making human rights real.
CONTACT DETAILS OF BLACK SASH REGIONAL OFFICES
BLACK SASH CAPE TOWN REGIONAL OFFICETel: 021 425 3417 Fax: 021 425 3423
Address: 3rd Floor, Matador Centre, 62 Strand Street, Cape Town, 8001.
BLACK SASH DURBAN REGIONAL OFFICETel:031 301 9215 Fax:031 305 2817
Address: 20 Diakonia Avenue, Diakonia Centre, Durban, 4001
BLACK SASH GAUTENG REGIONAL OFFICETel: 011 834 8361 Fax:011 492 1177
Address: 25 Anderson Street, 1st Floor, Khotso House, Johannesburg, 2001
BLACK SASH GRAHAMSTOWN REGIONAL OFFICETel:046 622 8091 Fax:046 622 7647
Address: 6 Bathurst Street, Grahamstown, 6139
BLACK SASH KNYSNA REGIONAL OFFICETel:044 382 4458 Fax:044 382 3615
Address: 9 Pitt Street, Knysna, 6570
BLACK SASH PIETERMARITZBURG REGIONAL OFFICE
Tel: 033 342 6368 Fax: 033 394 5403
Address: 6th Floor Gallway House, Gallway Lane, Pietermaritzburg, 3201
BLACK SASH PORT ELIZABETH REGIONAL OFFICETel:041 487 3288 Fax:041 484 1107
Address: Dorsham House, Cnr Elizabeth Street & 384 Govan Mbeki Ave,
Port Elizabeth, 6001