Do you qualify for a SASSA old age grant?
If you have reached retirement age (60), have stopped working, and are struggling financially, you can apply for the SASSA Older Person’s Grant – also known as a state pension. You will need to undergo a means test to prove financial hardship. You can’t claim the grant if you receive a regular income above a certain amount, whether it’s from investments, rentals or a private pension. If you own assets over a certain amount, you will also not qualify for a state pension.
How much is the SASSA Old Age Grant?
Currently (as at 1 April 2022) the grant is R1 980 per month. Over 75’s receive an extra R20 for a total of R2 000. Although the grant is increased every year, the increases are minimal. In 2022 Government has announced that there will be a further R10 increase in October.
If you are applying for accommodation at Tafta, a state pension is one of the minimum requirements.
How do I know if I qualify?
You can apply for a state pension if:
1. You are a South African citizen, permanent resident or refugee, currently living in South Africa.
2. You are 60 years of age or older.
3. You do not receive any other social grant for yourself.
4. You do not live in a state institution (e.g. a state old age home or rehabilitation centre). If you live in a Tafta Home, this rule does not apply, as our homes are all owned and managed by our organisation.
5. You qualify in terms of the means test.
The first four criteria are pretty straightforward. But how do you know if you qualify in terms of the means test?
Because social grants are intended for people who can’t support themselves, the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) looks at your income and assets to determine whether or not you qualify.
If you are single, your total monthly income cannot exceed R7 190. Married couples are assessed jointly – you will need to prove that your combined monthly income is below R14 380. Even if you have no income yourself, but your spouse earns R14 380 or more a month, you will not qualify for the old age grant.
You must also disclose any income earned by dependent children (eg part time or piece work), which will be counted as part of your monthly income. And your assets are also taken into consideration. Single people with assets worth R1 227 600 or more, are not able to claim the old age grant. Combined assets of married couples cannot exceed R2 455 200.
Can I apply for a SASSA Grant if I am still working?
Yes, you can, provided your income is below R7 190 per month, and that your assets are less than R1 227 600.
I own a house worth over R1 million. Does this automatically exclude me from qualifying for an old age grant?
If you own any property, you need to declare this. But if you live in the property, it will not affect the means test, which is based on monthly income. It gets a little more tricky if you and your spouse own a home worth more than R2.45 million. Even if you live in the home, you may be expected to downsize, and use the balance of the money to help fund your retirement, instead of relying on the state.
How to apply
Either go to your nearest South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) office and complete a form in the presence of a SASSA officer, or you can apply online at www.services.sassa.gov.za. Please note there is no fee payable.
You will need to submit the following documents:
1. Your identity document and the ID of your spouse
2. Proof of marital status, eg. Marriage certificate, spouse’s death certificate, divorce order
3. Proof of income for yourself, your spouse (if married) and any dependent children
4. Proof of your assets, including the value of any property you own
5. Proof of private pension (if any)
If you don’t have access to the Internet and are too old/sick to go to the office to apply for a grant, a family member or friend may be able to apply on your behalf (check with your closest SASSA office first). Alternatively, they may visit you in your home to complete the necessary paperwork. There is no charge to apply, so do not be misled by any unscrupulous individual who requests payment.
How long does it take before I start receiving my payments?
It may take up to 3 months to process your application, but if you are successful you will be paid from the date on which you applied. You will be issued with a SASSA card and can collect your payment at the post office, designated bank or other pay points (eg at supermarkets and some old age homes). Or you can arrange to have the money deposited electronically into your bank or Postbank account.
You can use your SASSA card to pay for goods at the till, or to withdraw cash from till points in selected stores (e.g. Checkers) or any post office or ATM, without incurring any fees.
If your application is refused, you’ll get a letter explaining why it has been refused. If you feel that a mistake has been made, you can appeal the decision within 90 days of being notified.
For more information about qualifying rules, payout dates and district offices, please call the SASSA toll-free helpline on 0800 601 011.