Pretoria – The South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) has urged social grant beneficiaries to make alternative arrangements with financial service providers on how premiums will be paid going forward.
This follows the amendments of the regulations of the Social Assistance Act of 2004 this year, where some social grant beneficiaries will have to make alternative arrangements regarding the payment of funeral insurance premiums.
SASSA National spokesperson Kgomoco Diseko said that amending these regulations was a necessary and responsible step taken by SASSA and the Social Development Department in order to protect vulnerable beneficiaries against unscrupulous financial service providers.
“The law allows for only a maximum of 10% of the grant value to be deducted and requires that SASSA should be informed whenever a beneficiary enters into a contract with a funeral insurance service provider.
“In some cases, SASSA is not involved and this results in unauthorised deductions which come as a surprise to the beneficiary when the next payment cycle comes. This happens in cases where beneficiaries are approached and made to sign agreements that are not explained to them,” said Diseko.
Diseko added that countless beneficiaries have complained to SASSA about funeral policy deductions coming off their grants without their knowledge and in response, Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini appointed an advisory committee which recommended a dispute resolution mechanism.
“SASSA developed this mechanism, which helps beneficiaries to report such unauthorised deductions which are investigated and resolved to a large extent. The new regulations are a step in the right direction and will assist in resolving unauthorised deduction disputes.”
Deduction on children’s grant
Beneficiaries with direct deductions for a funeral insurance/scheme from child grants will be discontinued in December 2016.
“All child grant beneficiaries have been advised to make alternative payment arrangements with their financial service providers on how premiums will be paid from December 2016 onwards,” said Diseko.
Grants awarded for less than 12 months
Beneficiaries having direct deductions for a funeral insurance/scheme on any social grant awarded for a period of less than 12 months (temporary disability grants) will be discontinued in December 2016.
All affected beneficiaries are urged to make alternative arrangements with financial service providers on how premiums will be paid going forward.
Deduction for funeral policy on adult grants
“If you are receiving a grant for older persons, war veterans or a permanent disability grant and would like to have the premiums for your funeral policy/scheme deducted directly from your grant, please visit the nearest SASSA office to give permission in writing and in person for these deductions to go through.
“This applies to old and new funeral policies. If you are unable to visit the SASSA office, you are requested to contact SASSA on 0800 60 10 11 or 012 400 2322 to make alternative arrangements such as home visits for frail people,” Diseko urged beneficiaries.
Regarding other types of social grants, Diseko said only one deduction will be allowed provided the value of such a grant does not exceed 10% of the value of the grant.