SASSA Child Grants Can’t be Used to Fund Funeral Policies
In South Africa, poor parents get a grant to assist in raising their children. These are named SASSA child grants. The grant is in the region of R350 a month.
The South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) pays this award in various ways. SASSA can also decide if the child’s grant needs reviewing. They consider these grants when they suspect there is an abuse of the grant and the child.
A UN report has said that Africa’s population will reach 3 and a half billion in this century. Whatever the reason for this is, overpopulation contributes to poverty.
SASSA Child Grants are not Reaching the Intended Recipient – the Child
In reviewing these grants, SASSA has been made aware that these grants are not intended the way they ought.
Instead of the money being utilised to clothe and feed children, amounts are being deducted from the subsidy to pay for funeral cover.
Every month, insurance companies take money from the accounts of beneficiaries of social grants without their permission.
Unauthorised deductions Deepening the poverty Situation
SASSA has had to find a way to put a halt to this and also get this money refunded. The Agency has received thousands of complaints from these social grant beneficiaries about the amounts deducted from their accounts.
Because of these unauthorised deductions, SASSA introduced a new policy. The aim is to block all funeral cover debit orders from child grants. The policy took effect in November 2015.
Lion of Africa, the culprit life assurance company, then applied for an interdict against SASSA in a bid to stop the implementation of the policy.
Black Sash also ran a ‘Hands off our grants’ campaign. And they too have documented hundreds of cases of unauthorised deductions from the SASSA child grants beneficiaries.
The Minister of Social Development, in response to the Black Sash campaign, set up a task team to investigate the problem. The aim is to stop the unlawful debt deductions from the SASSA child grants.
SASSA child grants Suspends unwanted Deductions
The Constitutional Court has ordered SASSA to suspend the implementation of a moratorium on disallowing these deductions from children’s allowances. They reached a settlement whereby Lion of Africa, a life assurance company, would not enforce the High Court order.
SASSA can now proceed with the amended regulation 26A and not allow funeral policy deductions on children’s grants.
The Minister of Social Development saw this more recent judgment as a victory for children receiving social subsidies and a win for all the thousands of social grant beneficiaries – the victims of so-called immoral practices.
He said that all needy South Africans had a constitutional right to social security and that their grants should reach them in full without any suspect deductions. They will get back their money, but only once the matter has been investigated.
SASSA also depends on Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) who is the company responsible for paying these social grants.
An End to ALL Deductions
SASSA may allow funeral cover deductions, but only where the beneficiary requests such deductions. SASSA can only authorise one deduction for a funeral insurance scheme, and then it must be not more than 10% of the value of the beneficiary’s grant. After all, these subsidies are here for a purpose – to put food on the table for the children.
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