The Temporary Disability Grant provides financial assistance to more than 200 000 South African citizens who are unable to work, due to injury or illness, for between 6 and 12 months.
Since the Covid-19 pandemic hit South Africa, there have been delays in people being able to renew their Temporary Disability Grants from the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA). This is because many were unable to go to doctors to get updated medical assessments to provide proof of their disabilities, as the restrictions caused by the lockdown and the overwhelmed healthcare system did not allow them to do so.
SASSA granted beneficiaries a ten month extension before medical reviews would be needed again.
In a statement SASSA said that at the end of December they suspended 210 778 temporary disability grants across the country as the period of extension which they awarded had expired.
This means that all the beneficiaries of this grant are having to rush to get their medical reviews so that their suspended grants may be reactivated.
“To have continued payment of the grants until end March 2021 would have cost an additional R1.2 billion, which funds are not available,” said Sassa.
Backlogs have resulted from this suspension as many are having to get their medical examinations done and SASSA has asked that the beneficiaries visit the offices to provide them with the details and proof of the medical examination.
MP Bridget Masango from the Democratic Alliance (DA), has called for an urgent meeting with Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Social Development.
Masango argues that:
“Government has failed to prepare for the upcoming flood of beneficiaries who will need to undergo their reassessments, thereby putting many vulnerable South Africans at risk of losing their much-needed disability grants in the coming weeks,”
She says clarity is needed on why there is a lack of funds for this grant, as there has been a budget set out for each grant type.
Masango is yet to get a response on when the meeting will be taking place.