The South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) has called on temporary grant recipients affected by the recent pay suspensions to contact regional offices with detailed referral reports.
This comes after the agency in December suspended 210 778 disability grants nationally and 40 875 Temporary Disability Grants and 2986 Care Dependency Grants in KwaZulu-Natal, as the extended period for which they were awarded had expired.
Last year, in the wake of the COVID-19 lockdown, government extended to December 2020 the payment of Temporary Disability Grants that were supposed to lapse from February. This was to cushion affected beneficiaries against the pressures brought about by the State of National Disaster. The cost of continuing to pay these grants totalled in excess of R1.5 billion.
In a statement, the agency urged affected beneficiaries to report to the nearest SASSA office, with a detailed referral report from their treating doctor, which confirms the impact of the medical condition or disability.
"The SASSA staff will then take the personal and contact details of the client, and contact him/her to confirm when he/she can return to the office to complete the process," reads the statement.
The agency said the information in the referral letter will be used to inform the SASSA doctor who is required to complete an assessment and recommend whether the grant should be awarded or not.
SASSA, after taking into account all factors, including the medical assessment and a means test, will either award the grant or not.
"The new award may be for a temporary or permanent period, depending on the circumstances of each applicant," said the agency.
SASSA said it was important for any applicant for a disability grant to be aware that, if the grant is awarded for a temporary period, or not approved, that he/she has the right to request SASSA to reconsider the decision.
"This must be done within 90 days of being informed of the outcome of the application. If the reconsidered decision is still unfavourable, then the applicant has the right to appeal to the Independent Appeals Tribunal. This again, must be done within 90 days of receiving the reconsidered outcome," reads the statement.
The agency said it would continue to do everything in its power to provide services to those who need these.
"The inconvenience caused by the suspension of the temporary grants, particularly at this time, is acknowledged. However, compliance to the legislation and the cost implications have informed this challenging decision," said SASSA.