In today’s Sassa news update – The call for the Department of Social Development and Sassa to increase the income threshold for the R350 grant has been answered.

The decision, which would affect people currently applying for grants, was requested by a human rights organisation.

Human rights organisation Black Sash has decided, after months of negotiations with Sassa and intense public outcry, to drop its litigation against the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa).

This comes after Sassa recently made regulatory changes to the disbursement of the R350 grant in August this year, which meant that recipients were no longer being overcharged for services.

In April 2022, the government issued Regulations that reduced the grant’s eligibility requirement from R595 to R350. The new regulation dramatically increased the number of beneficiaries and required much less paperwork.

In response to the amended Regulations, which are welcomed, we have since withdrawn the legal application. It nevertheless remains disheartening that it took a legal challenge for DSD to change its course and adopt a human rights-based approach to the grant system.

The Sassa R350 Grant means that no beneficiary can have more than 350 Rand in their bank account each month, regardless of where this money came from. If a beneficiary is deemed too rich they would be disqualified as a beneficiary.

The Centre for Applied Legal Studies (CALS) has filed an urgent application with the High Court of Pretoria on behalf of Black Sash and 26 000 other grant recipients. We are challenging the new requirement of double or higher qualification as it infringes on the right to social security, disability and disability pensions as seen in the Constitution.

The Sassa R350 grant issue dominated headlines, as more questions than answers emerged. The list of issues is long and varied. From the use of only digital systems or online platforms for grant applications, regulations favouring bank verification information over other applicant information to check eligibility, and other issues were brought up during the litigation process.

The impossibly low-income threshold of R350; and the fact that the Regulations prohibit any new information and evidence being provided when beneficiaries appeal rejections of an SRD grant application.”

Black Sash further stated.

The Sassa R350 Grant is designed to provide dignity and a social safety net for millions of South Africans who rely on it. This grant is what keeps some of our poorest citizens out of a life-threatening cycle of poverty.

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