You and Your Rights: Grant-in-Aid

Summary

  • An applicant only qualifies for a grant-in-aid if already a recipient of the War Veterans’, Disability, or Old Age Grant
  • One may apply for the grant-in-aid as a part of his or her application for any of the other three adult grants, or at a later date, if the need for medical attendance develops
  • There is no means test for the grant-in-aid, rather it depends on eligibility for one of the other three adult grants
  • The grant-in-aid need not be renewed, but financial, and possibly medical, eligibility for the other grant on which it depends must be verified annually.
  • If a beneficiary is no longer deemed to be in need of regular medical attendance, or is admitted into a state-funded care institution, the grant-in-aid will lapse irrespective of financial status
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Your Rights

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The South African constitution says that ‘everyone has the right to have access to social security including, if they are unable to support themselves and their dependants, appropriate social assistance’ (Sec 27(1c)). One of the ways the government meets this responsibility is through the provision of a Grant-in-Aid

What is a Grant-in-Aid – and who is it meant to support?

The Grant-in-Aid is monthly income support for adults who are in need of regular attendance by another person due to their disability. They may only receive this grant if they are already receiving one of the other three grants for adults, however.

How much is the Grant-in-Aid?

The amount changes every year.  From 1 April 2017 the amount of Grant-in-Aid is R380 per month.

Who is eligible for the Grant-in-Aid?

To be eligible for a Grant-in-Aid, the applicant must require regular attendance by another person due to his/ her disability, and must

  • be a South African citizen, permanent resident or refugee who is over the age of 18 and living in South Africa; and
  • have applied for – or be receiving - either a Disability Grant, an Older Person’s Grant or a War Veterans’ Grant.

There is no means test for the Grant-in-Aid, as the applicants will have been assessed already when they became eligible for one of the other adult grants.

A person will not get a Grant-in-Aid if they are being cared for by an institution wholly funded by the state, e.g. a home for older persons, a psychiatric hospital or prison, a treatment centre.

Who can apply for the Grant-in-Aid?

If the applicant cannot go to the SASSA offices themselves, a friend or family member can take letters from them (and their doctor) saying why they cannot do so. A SASSA official will then arrange to visit them at home.  In addition, if they need someone to act for them permanently – especially to collect their grant - they may appoint a ‘procurator’ who must sign a form agreeing to do this honourably.

How do they apply for a Grant-in-Aid?

Applicants for the Grant-in-Aid can apply at their nearest SASSA (South African Social Security Agency) office either ...

  • at the same time as they apply for the grant to which it is linked; or
  • when they begin to need regular attendance by another person.

They do not pay anything to apply.

At the SASSA office they will be assisted to complete the forms, will be interviewed and will have their fingerprints taken.

They must take a range of documents with them as applications will not be processed without these.  They will need identity documents for themselves and their spouse and proof of their marital status, as well as a medical assessment report confirming their disability. They will also be required to sign a standard affidavit specifically for the Grant-in-Aid to support their medical assessment.   (A full list of the documents is available on page 124 of the Black Sash’s Social Assistance: A reference guide for paralegals.)

Can they apply for a grant without an ID book or birth certificate?

If the applicant does not have identity documentation – or is missing some of the other necessary documents - they may still apply.

At the SASSA office they will be asked to complete and sign a form (a ‘sworn affidavit’) confirming who they are. They will also be asked to bring an affidavit from a reputable person (like a councillor, traditional leader, social worker or priest) who can verify that they know the applicant. 

How is the Grant-in-Aid paid to them?

When they make the application, they must say how they would like the money to be paid. They can either collect it on a specific day each month, or have it paid into a bank account. (This can be changed at any time by filling in a form at the SASSA office.)

How long does it take to start getting the Grant-in-Aid?

In some SASSA offices, applicants are told immediately whether or not they qualify for a grant. Legally SASSA has three months from the date of application to start paying a grant once it has been approved. The payments will be backdated to the date they applied for the grant.

If they are worried, an applicant can phone the free SASSA helpline: 0800 601 011 to find out what has happened to their application and when they can expect payment. This is also the number to call if you want to report social grant fraud.

Do they need to renew the Grant-in-Aid?

While Grants-in-Aid do not have to be renewed, SASSA checks if beneficiaries are still eligible for their grants by sending out annual registered letters asking for up-to-date information. In this case it will be to check their financial eligibility for the other grant they get - but they may also ask for another medical assessment.  (If a beneficiary’s circumstances improve before SASSA sends them this letter, they must let SASSA know. Receiving a grant when a person is not eligible for one is fraud.)

When do Grant-in-Aid payments stop?

The Grant-in-Aid will lapse if the beneficiary is no longer eligible for the grant on which the Grant-in-Aid depends.  This can be because their finances have improved – or, in the case of a Disability Grant, where a beneficiary’s refugee status lapses or their condition improves. It may be suspended if they are admitted to a state-funded institution for over six months.  The grant will be cancelled if a medical assessment finds they are no longer in need of regular attendance by another person – or if they die.