Sassa: Grants for pensioners and people with disabilities to be paid early
Johannesburg - The South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) has made provision for more than 3.6 million elderly social grant recipients and over one million people with disabilities to be paid on March 30 and 31, a few days earlier than the rest of the recipients.
Sassa’s prompt response apparently came after Black Sash raised concern that Sassa had only announced measures to curb the spread of coronavirus at cash paypoint centres. Black Sash said Sassa and the Social Development Department made no reference about the welfare of more than 95% of recipients who collect their grants at ATMs and retailers.
Reacting, Sassa spokesperson Paseka Letsatsi said they consulted widely and agreed to bring forward the date for payment for April 2020.
“To allay these fears, Sassa consulted widely and the result is that grant payments for April will be brought forward so that they can start on 30 March 2020. All other grants such as child support should be collected from 1 April 2020. It is important to stress that payments on the first two days will be for the elderly and people living with disabilities,” Letsatsi said.
He said the emphasis on prioritising the older person and disability grants is an effort to ease congestion at retailers and bank infrastructure and to ensure that the risk of infection is minimised.
“Beneficiaries who normally collect their grants at cash pay points will be able to collect their grants at the pay points from Friday 03 April 2020 according to the different specific dates communicated to them in the previous payment cycle.
“Once the money is in the account, it will remain available for the beneficiary to access anytime and anywhere as and when required. There is no need to withdraw all the money at once. Beneficiaries are also encouraged to swipe their cards to pay for purchases, rather than withdraw cash,” Letsatsi said.
He said additional measures would be put in place to manage the numbers at cash paypoints to ensure that hygiene protocols for every one are followed and social distancing is maintained.
“SASSA will ensure that the number of clients being serviced at any one time does not exceed the national set number of 100 people. Social grant beneficiaries are encouraged to avoid areas where large numbers of people are gathered for their personal safety. Beneficiaries at paypoints and post offices will be provided with hand sanitisers to prevent infections. All necessary measures will be put in place to ensure that social distance is adhered to.
Additional cash dispensers will be availed to ensure that there is no overcrowding around one or two dispensers at cash paypoints and post offices,” he said.
He said that would increase the speed of serving clients to ensure that there is full compliance with provisions of the Disaster Management Act, 2002 as amended.
A change of behaviour among all South Africans is necessary and everyone should practice the following personal hygiene measures:
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or hand sanitisers for at least 20 seconds
- Cover your nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing with tissue or flexed elbow;
- Avoid close contact with anyone who has cold or flu-like symptoms.
Beneficiaries should contact Sassa on 0800 60 10 11.