New system for old age grants
A new system is being implemented by the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) and concerns those who receive social grants.
Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini announced in February that SASSA is to implement a new biometric-based payment system, while SASSA assured all beneficiaries that the re-registration process will not affect the payment of social grants at this stage. From 2 April, Cash Payment Services Pty (Ltd) or CPS will pay social grants on behalf of SASSA.
With regard to the re-registration process, beneficiaries who receive cash payments at pay points, as well as procurators (those who receive social grants on behalf of beneficiaries), should go to their respective pay points on their normal payment days to receive their social grants. The only difference from the past will be that beneficiaries will be issued with a new temporary CPS Smart Master Card. New beneficiaries will be registered directly onto the new biometric-based payment system.
Beneficiaries who receive their grants through banks and post offices will receive their grants as normal. These beneficiaries will be re-registered from June 2012, when they will receive their new SASSA-branded Smart Card. Bank beneficiaries will be notified in writing of their registration days.
Sekulua clients who have not re-registered by 29 March must go to their nearest pay point or SASSA office for re-registration from 2 April. Sekulula refers to a debit-card-based transactional account that allows beneficiaries access to grants electronically at ATMs or point-of-sale devices.
The social grants re-registration process will unfold in two phases.
The current phase is the Interim Phase, which is from 1 March to 31 May. There will be a cut-off date for enrolment after the interim period.
Phase two is the Bulk Enrolment Phase, from 1 June to 31 December, when existing beneficiaries, including bank beneficiaries, will be enrolled on the new biometric-based payment system at SASSA pay points, local offices and designated sites. Every beneficiary will then receive the SASSA-branded Smart Card, with the benefit of using the card anywhere in the country.
The new system will allow monthly life certification and will minimize fraud and corruption, not to mention a saving of R800m per annum as compared to the previous contracts.
All beneficiaries are reminded to bring their South African ID and their current grant payment card, as well as all relevant proof of marital status and income and assets.
This year, the old-age grant increased by R60 to R1200 for senior citizens from the age of 60 years. The old-age grant for senior citizens aged 75 years and older went up from R1160 to R1220.
It will take 30 working days for a new application to be processed and checked and either accepted or refused.
A person’s old-age grant will be cancelled if he or she is admitted to a state institution or if the income or assets improve so much that the person no longer qualifies in terms of the means test. The beneficiary must inform the department of any changes in circumstances.
For more information, SASSA or CPS can be contacted toll free on 0900 601011 or 0800600160.