As South Africa marks Disability Awareness Month, the plight of disabled individuals comes to the forefront, shedding light on the challenges they face, particularly in securing employment. Many disabled South Africans depend on the South African Social Security Agency’s (Sassa) grant to navigate these hurdles. However, a significant number of applicants find themselves confronted with the disheartening news of application denials.
In response to this issue, the government is actively encouraging those whose applications have been rejected to lodge an appeal. According to Sassa, the appeal process should be initiated within 90 days of receiving the rejection letter, with a 30-day window allocated for the review process. Should applicants require clarification on the reasons for rejection, Sassa officials are obligated to provide the necessary information.
Sassa, recognizing the financial strain on disabled individuals, has announced an increase of R2,090 per month for all authorized disability grant recipients, effective from October 2023. This increase comes as part of the budget review, demonstrating the government’s commitment to addressing the financial needs of disabled citizens.
It is crucial for applicants to understand that Sassa collaborates with medically contracted experts to assess the disability claims. To qualify for the disability allowance, applicants must meet specific criteria, including being a South African citizen, permanent resident, or refugee permanently residing in the country. Additionally, the applicant must be between 18 and 59 years of age and undergo a medical or functional assessment to confirm the disability. Clinical information or a referral form corroborating the disability is also a requisite.
Importantly, applicants previously rejected on medical grounds must provide a duly completed referral form from a treating facility or practitioner. The means test is applicable to both the applicant and their spouse, and applicants should not be in receipt of another social grant.
As the government takes steps to address the challenges faced by disabled individuals, it is crucial for the public to be informed about the appeal process and the criteria for qualification. This ensures that deserving applicants receive the support they need during Disability Awareness Month and beyond.