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Sassa Suspends Over 200 000 Temporary Disability Grants

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Sassa has suspended over 200 000 temporary disability grants. This has affected many applicants who applied for the grant due to illness or injury. 

The suspension comes as a result of Sassa running out of funds as well as the end of the extension period that was given in 2020.

At the beginning of the lockdown in March, Sassa gave a 10 month extension to beneficiaries of the grant due to the lockdown restrictions. 

The restrictions made it difficult for applicants to be examined by medical practitioners, as the application process required. 

“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,” 

“Affected citizens are requested 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,” said Sassa in a statement.

Bridget Masango, member of the Democratic Alliance and Shadow Minister of Social Development wants clarity about why Sassa has run out of funds. 

The temporary grant is granted for a period of 6 months to 12 months. Applicants then have to reapply after the period by visiting a doctor who will conduct a medical examination. 

"What needed to happen now is for the applicants to go back to Sassa and apply again, I wouldn't even say reapply because it's a brand new application when it has lapsed, when the grant period has lapsed they need to reapply," said the DA's Bridget Masango.

"That is what we were expecting to happen from May and so what we were saying as the Democratic Alliance is that there needed to have been plans for that because every month you know that there will be a grant that will lapse so you know that the numbers will increase."

According to Masango, Minister Lindiwe Zulu said Sassa would need R1.2 billion to cover the cost of the temporary disability grants. 

However, it remains unclear whether this amount was not budgeted for or simply unavailable. 

"From our understanding, there has been a budget for each grant type throughout the time. The fact that people have to reapply does not mean that then during that reapplying there are no grants being paid."

Masango has written to the chairperson on Social Development, and is currently waiting for a response with regard to meeting with Minister Zulu to discuss the temporary disability grants. 

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