- SASSA has opted to suspend over 200 000 temporary disability grants following a number of extensions last year
- Beneficiaries now need to reapply for medical assessments despite the immense strain of the pandemic on hospitals
- With the agency experiencing a R1.2 billion shortfall the government's ability to process payments has been called into question
Temporary disability grant beneficiaries have been, to put it bluntly, been left in the lurch by the government.
Those set to receive the grant are now rushing to get the medical paperwork needed to reactivate their payments.
This comes as South African hospitals baulk under the strain of the Covid-19 pandemic with many at full capacity.
This grant provides financial support to over 200 000 citizens who are unable to work for between 6 months and a year due to injury or illness.
The lockdown, implemented in March saw a 10-month extension being granted before medical reviews would be needed again, but this has come to a swift end.
The agency released a statement earlier this week confirming that the extension is indeed over:
“At the end of December 2020, Sassa suspended a total of 210,778 disability grants nationally, as the extended period for which they were awarded had expired."
The suspension has prompted a backlog with those still unable to work battling to secure their reviews.
The agency has admitted that the issues are not solely administrative, but financial:
“To have continued payment of the grants until end March 2021 would have cost an additional R1.2 billion, which funds are not available."
BusinessLIVE reports that Bridget Masango, an MP, has called for an urgent Parliamentary meeting over the issue, commenting that:
“Government has failed to prepare for the upcoming flood of beneficiaries who will need to undergo their reassessments, thereby putting many vulnerable South Africans at risk of losing their much-needed disability grants in the coming weeks."
Earlier, Briefly.co.za reported that economists have come out and said that South Africa cannot afford to pay the R350 grant permanently.
The South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) introduced the Social Relief of Distress (SRD) grant to fight the economic effects of COVID-19.
The SRD grant is specifically for people who are unemployed, over the age of 18 and not receiving any other social grant.
The grant has been paid out for people who applied and were approved since June and is set to end in October.
The SRD grant is part of the R500 billion economic and social support package.
There has been a call from a number of South Africans for the grant to continue being paid out beyond the time that was allocated. This is because of the high rate of unemployment in South Africa.
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