This means that just over a million people who were excluded before, will now be in a position to apply for a social grant.
Dr Skweyiya announced that the means test applicable to the child support grant is changed from R1,100 to R2,200 per month. The Care Dependency grant income threshold is increased from R4,000 to R9,400 per month. For the adult grants, the income threshold is increased from R1,900 to R2,200 per month and the value of the assets increases from R338 000 to R450 000 per year for unmarried persons and doubled for married persons.
The regulations will be published in the government gazette on Monday, 25 August 2008.
Minister Skweyiya said: 'This brings relief to those who are faced with distress and undue hardship. The measures are part of government's war on poverty campaign. This is indeed a step in the right direction especially in these hard times where the cost of living has increased as a result of high food and petrol prices. The lack of adjustment of the means test to make it in line with inflation had diminished the value of the grants more especially in purchasing the basket of goods and services that is mostly consumed by the poor'.
Dr. Skweyiya remains concerned about the number of people without identification documents who have applied for social grants. 'People with alternative forms of identification, who do not have an identity document, should go to the nearest SASSA offices to ascertain if they qualify for a grant, they will be assisted. We however call upon all South Africans to go to the Department of Home Affairs to apply for identity documents and birth certificates for children', said Dr Skweyiya.
082 808 9486
Department of Social Development
Alliance for Children's Entitlement to Social Security (ACESS) has enclosed an update regarding the new regulations to the Social Assistance Act, and the new means test, for your attention:
ACESS has welcomed the promulgation of regulations which will extend grants to many more South Africans. The Department of Social Development has promulgated the regulations.
The regulations have three key changes in them:
Firstly, the *means test* applicable to the child support grant is changed from R800 or R1,100 (depending on rural or urban) to R2,200 per month. This means that you qualify for these grants earning twice as much as you did before.
The child support grant was introduced in 1998, with a means test of R800 or R1100. The test has remained unchanged, and has been eroded in value by inflation over the ten years since the introduction of the grant. It was intended to reach children defined as poor, but with no inflation related adjustments every year the test has gradually excluded more and more children, especially with recent high inflation. This is going to make a big difference - well done especially to the Children's Institute and Legal Resources Centre, who litigated against the Department of Social Development and Finance to push this change.
Secondly, there are grants that can now be accessed by refugees. The disability grant, and the SROD, can be claimed by refugees. This is as a result of work done by Lawyers for Human Rights, and particularly their litigation. Congratulations to them.
Thirdly, the regulations confirm that the Department will accept alternative ID where people don't have Home Affairs documents. This follows on ACESS litigation: well done to all ACESS members and the Legal Resources Centre who contributed to this victory.
These changes will increase the number of people who can access the social security system, by up to a million beneficiaries according to departmental calculations. We are very pleased, and want to warmly congratulate the Department on this step." said Patricia Martin, director at ACESS, in a press release.
Unfortunately the opportunity to increase the CSG to all poor children under 18 was not used. The regulations increase the age from 14 to 15 years as of 1 January 2009. The Department has announced an intention to increase it further in 2010 to age 16 but there is no firm commitment in law. While we wait, children aged 15 - 18 have no support. While we wait, food prices, paraffin and petrol continue to climb and place enormous pressure on poor families. ACESS calls on the Department of Finance to work together with the Department of Social Development to make the intention to increase to 18 a reality now.
For more information on the new changes please call:
Patricia Martin: ACESS 021 4613096
Alison Tilley: ACESS 083 2582209
Katherine Hall: Children's Institute: UCT 082 678 5747
Paula Proudlock: Children's Institute: UCT 083 412 4458