Published on February 26, 2014
The Erosion of the Social Security System due to Recent Amendments and Its Impact on ARV Adherence and Applications for the Chronically Ill: MRC/INFO4AFRICA KZN COMMUNITY FORUM 25 FEBRUARY 2014 PRESENTED BY: EVASHNEE NAIDU
OVERVIEW OF PRESENTATION • BACKGROUND AND INTRODUCTION TO THE GRANTS SYSTEM • THE SOCIAL ASSISTANCE AMENDMENT ACT, 2010 AND RELATED REGULATIONS: • IMPACT OF THE ABOVE REGULATIONS N ARV ADHERENCE AND THOSE THAT ARE CHRONICALLY ILL • THE RE-ENROLMENT/RE-REGISTRATION PROCESS • BLACK SASH ATTEMPTS TO ADDRESS THE PROBLEM • WAY FORWARD FOR THIS FORUM
• BACKGROUND AND INTRODUCTION TO THE GRANTS SYSTEM
Section 27 of the South African Constitution says … “Everyone has the right to have access to social security, including, if they are unable to support themselves and their dependants, appropriate social assistance. The state must take reasonable legislative and other measures, within its available resources, to achieve the progressive realisation of each of these rights.”
• Various pieces of legislation like the Social Assistance Act, Social Assistance Amendment Act, and related regulations and other related laws were put into place to give effect to this Constitutional right.
A brief overview of the current Social Assistance provisions
There are THREE different social grants for CHILDREN … CHILD SUPPORT GRANT FOSTER CHILD GRANT CARE DEPENDENCY GRANT
The CHILD SUPPORT GRANT is income support for caregivers of children in need.
Parents or the primary caregiver of children born after 31 December 1994 can apply for the R310 per month CHILD SUPPORT GRANT.
The Means Test for the Child Support Grant is… Single person = R2 900 pm or less; OR R34 800 pa or less. Married couple = R5 800 pm or less; OR R69 600 pa or less. There is no Asset Test.
The FOSTER CHILD GRANT is income support to caregivers of children in foster care.
Foster parents of children under 18 can apply for the R800 per month Foster Child Grant.
There is NO means test for the Foster Child Grant.
The CARE DEPENDENCY GRANT is income support for caregivers providing permanent care to children with severe mental or physical disabilities.
The parent or caregiver or foster parent of children between 1 and 18 years (not infants) can apply for the R1270 per month Care Dependency Grant.
The Means Test for the Care Dependency Grant: Single person = R12 600 pm or less; or R151 200 pa or less. Married couples = R25 200 pm or less; or R302 400 pa or less. There is no Asset Test.
There are FOUR different Social Grants for ADULTS: War Veterans’ Grant Grant-inAid Disability Grant Older Person’s Grant
The DISABILITY GRANT is income support for adults who are unable to work because of a mental or physical disability.
Adults who are 18 or older can apply for the R1270 per month Disability Grant.
The Means Test for the Disability Grant: Income for single person= R4 160 pm or less; or R49 920 pa or less. Assets for Single person= R831 600 or less; Income for Married couple= R8 230 pm or less; or R99 840 pa or less. Assets for Married couple = R1 663 200 or less.
The OLDER PERSON’S GRANT is income support for older men and women.
Women and men who are 60 (or older) can apply for the R1270 per month (+ R 20 if older than 75) Older Person’s Grant.
The Means Test for the Older Person’s Grant: Income for single person = R4 160 pm or less; or R49 920 pa or less. Income for Married couple = R8 230 pm or less; or R99 840 pa or less. Assets for Single person = R831 600 or less Assets for Married couple = R1 663 200 or less.
The War Veteran’s Grant is income support for older men and women who served in the First, Second, or Korean war.
Both men and women who are 60 or older can apply for the R1270 per month War Veteran’s Grant.
The MEANS TEST for the War Veteran’s Grant: Income for Single person = R4 160 pm or less; or R49 920 pa or less. Assets for Single person = R831 600 or less. Income for Married couple = R8 320 pm or less; or R99 840 pa or less Assets for Married couple = R1 663 200 or less.
How to apply for a Social Grant
Applicants apply by filling in an application form at the nearest SASSA office.
They will be interviewed; have their fingerprints taken, voice prints recorded and given information about whether they qualify. If applicants are too sick to apply in person, a home visit can be arranged.
Applicants can apply for a grant without an ID book or birth certificate
Applicants will be asked to fill in a form, along with a sworn affidavit, and bring another affidavit by a reputable person (like a counsellor, traditional leader, social worker) who can verify that they know the applicant
SASSA may also ask for other documents to support the application, like a clinic card or a school report etc.
How is the grant money paid? When a person make the application, they must say how they would like the money to be paid – either in cash, at a specific Pay Point on particular day OR electronically deposited into their bank account.
How long does it take to start getting grant payments? SASSA legally has three months from the date of application to start paying a grant once it has been approved. The payments will be backdated to the day of applicaion.
Applicants can find out about the application call the free SASSA helpline: 0800 601 011
Some people can apply for temporary assistance from government in the form of Social Relief of Distress in certain instances – for example while waiting for their grant to be processed.
SOCIAL RELIEF OF DISTRESS is normally issued as a food parcel but can also be a voucher or cash payment. Any payments received will be deducted from the grant money when it is paid out.
• THE SOCIAL ASSISTANCE AMENDMENT ACT, 2010 AND RELATED REGULATIONS:
• This Amendment Act came into operation on 16 September 2010. • The Amendment Act provides for mechanisms for appeal by the Independent Tribunal and reconsideration by the Agency of its decisions. The regulations prescribe the process to be followed in both reconsiderations and appeals.
PROVISION OF THE REGULATIONS:• Regulation 2 (1): • “An applicant, …, who disagrees with the decision by the Agency may apply to the Agency in terms of section 18(1) of the Act requesting the Agency to reconsider its decision …” • Regulation 2 (2): • “A reconsideration contemplated in sub-regulation (1) must be lodged with the Agency by hand, post, fax or electronic mail; and must, …, be accompanied by all documents contemplated in regulation 2 (4) (2)(a) to (d)…”
• Regulation 2(3) &(4): • “An application contemplated in sub-regulation (1) must be based on the same information which was supplied to the Agency…; and must be accompanied by: • (a) any document provided by the Agency as proof of receipt of an application for social assistance; • (b) a copy of a letter of rejection or approval, by the Agency, of an application for social assistance; • (c) any other relevant document in relation to the application; and • (d) In the case of a person applying on behalf of the beneficiary or applicant, a copy of the power of attorney or proof of his or her appointment by the applicant or beneficiary to act on his or her behalf.”
• Regulation 3 (1): “The Chief Executive Officer of the Agency or his or her delegate must, subject to subregulation (3), assign such number of officials as may be necessary to consider applications contemplated in regulation 2” • Regulation 3(2): “An official contemplated in subregulation (1) must occupy a position that is higher in rank to that of the official or officials who considered the application in respect of which the applicant is requesting reconsideration” • Regulation 3(3): “An official contemplated in subregulation (1) shall consider an application contemplated in regulation 2 sitting alone.”
• Regulation 3(4): “The Agency must, within 90 days of receipt of an application contemplated in regulation 2 and after consideration of the application(a) uphold the application; (b) dismiss the application and provide reasons thereof …or. (c) Vary the Agency’s decision” Regulation 3(5): “The decision and reasons thereof contemplated in sub-regulation (4) must be communicated, within the period stipulated in sub-regulation (4), to the person referred to in regulation 2(1)… Provided that if the Agency fails to reconsider its decision within the stipulated period of receipt of such an application, the Agency is regarded to have dismissed the application…”
• Regulation 3(6): “An applicant or beneficiary may, by means of a written notice, at any time prior to the hearing of the re-consideration by the Agency, withdraw such application for reconsideration. • Regulation 4: “The appointment of members to the Independent Tribunal, to consider appeals as contemplated in section 18(1A) of the Act must be done in accordance with the terms and conditions the Minister may determine”
• Regulation 5 (1): “The Independent Tribunal considering an appeal, subject to sub regulation (2) and (3) is constituted by: • (a) a legal practitioner who must act as the chairperson; • (b) a medical practitioner as an assessor; and • (c) a member of civil society.” • Regulation 5(2): “A medical practitioner may only form part of the IT in respect of an appeal on disability, care dependency, war veteran’s or grant-in-aid grant”
• Regulation 5(3): “A member of civil society may only form part of the Independent Tribunal in respect of an appeal against the decision of the Agency relating to a social relief of distress grant” • Regulation 6: Provides for Qualifications and experience of the legal practitioner • Regulation 7: Provides for Qualifications and experience of the medical practitioner • Regulation 8: Provides for Qualifications and experience of the member of civil society.
• Regulations 9,10 & 11: Provides for Roles and Powers of the IT members during consideration of an appeal. • Regulation 12: Provides for the Powers of the IT which includes among others, the power to: – Request more information from the Appellant or the Agency or from any institution; – Postpone the appeal to a later date; – Refer the appellant for a second and independent medical examination;
• Regulation 13: Provides for Ethical conduct of members of IT. • Regulation 14: Provide for the lodging of an appeal to the IT. • Regulation 14(3): “When lodging an appeal as contemplated in sub-regulation (1) the appellant must not be allowed to produce any evidence or information which was not provided to the Agency at the time of application for social assistance. • Regulation 15: “The Independent Tribunal may, upon application for condonation by persons contemplated in regulation 14(1), condone an application for appeal lodged after a period of 90 days upon good cause shown”
• Regulation 15(2): provides that the IT in considering condonation application will determine factors such as: (a) the reason for the delay; • (b) Whether it is in the interest of justice that condonation be granted; and • (c) if there are reasonable prospects of success. • Regulation 16(1): “An appeal contemplated in regulation 14 (1) must be conducted: • (a) in the absence of the applicant or beneficiary; and • (b) by means of consideration of documentary evidence submitted by the Agency and the applicant or beneficiary.
• Regulation 16 (2): “An appeal must be finalised within a period of 90 days from the date on which the appeal was received by the Independent Tribunal.” • Regulation 17: Provides that the IT, may, after consideration of the appeal confirm, vary or set aside the decision of the Agency. • Regulation 18: “The IT must, where it is unable to make a decision due to the insufficiency, inconclusiveness or contradictory nature of the information contained in a medical report provided by the Agency or the applicant or beneficiary refer the appellant to a second and independent medical examination or opinion”
• Regulation 18(10): A medical examination referred to in this regulation must be based on and relate to the appellant’s medical condition as it had been at the time when the application for a grant was rejected by the Agency. • Regulation 18 (11): Where the medical report as contemplated in sub-regulation (1) concludes that the applicant or beneficiary, as at the time of rejection of the application for the grant, had a disability, the Independent Tribunal must uphold the appeal • Regulation 19: Provides for Receipt of an appeal, acknowledgement and request for further information
• Regulation 20: Provides for the communication of the decision and reasons thereof by the IT to an applicant or beneficiary and to the Agency… • Regulation 21 (1): The IT must, upon receipt of the application which does not constitute an appeal remove the matter from the schedule if it was already scheduled and notify the appellant that such an application does not constitute an appeal and the reasons thereof…; • Regulation 21(2): “The Independent Tribunal shall not be obliged to consider an application as contemplated in sub-regulation (1).
• Regulation 22: “An appellant may, by means of a written notice, at any time prior to the finalisation of the appeal by the IT, withdraw such an appeal …” • Regulation 23: “A copy of the appeal documents, including notification of decision, record of proceedings and copies of the Agency’s file should be retained by the IT for a period of five years from the date of communication of the decision on the appeal.” • Regulation 24: In the event that any legal notice or litigation, in connection with any matter prescribed in these Regulations and the 2008 Regulations, is contemplated, service of such notice must be addressed to the Chief Director Legal Services for DSD.
• IMPACT OF THE ABOVE REGULATIONS N ARV ADHERENCE AND THOSE THAT ARE CHRONICALLY ILL
• As mentioned, Reconsideration Process came into effect in 2010. • To address the massive backlogs as at March 2010 which stood at 60 000 • Black Sash in partnership with the LRC litigated against DSD and SASSA. • Out of court Settlement in 2011.
• Since inception over 90 % of beneficiaries that have contacted Black Sash KZN have reported that their Rejections have been upheld at Reconsideration Phase. • Beneficiaries are too de-motivated to even move on to Appeal Phase. • Majority of Affected Beneficiaries are HIV + and/or Chronically Il.
• Definition of Disability affects Application • Current amendments are detrimental to those suffering from HIV or other Chronic Illnesses • CD4 Count is not a determinant in assessing accessibility to Disability Grant • NO INCOME SUPPORT for those between age 18 to 60 unless you are disabled.
• THE RE-ENROLMENT/REREGISTRATION PROCESS
• Previously, SASSA had different payment service providers like CPS, All Pay and Sekulula. • In January 2012, Cash Paymaster Services was appointed as the sole service provider to distribute grants nationally. • In April 2012, SASSA, decided to introduce an automated biometric-based payment system. • In line with the introduction of the payment system, a reenrolment process of grant beneficiaries commenced and was completed by May 2013.
• Purpose of Re-enrolment process • Disadvantage identified by the new System: Unlawful and illegal Deductions which have been coming out of Beneficiaries accounts immediately upon receipt of the monies. • Facilitated by CPS • Tender found to be Unconstitutional
• BLACK SASH ATTEMPTS TO ADDRESS THE PROBLEM
• November 2012: Sash meets with SASSA in CT • June 2013: Sash meets again with SASSA together with LRC • October 2013: DSD acknowledges publically that the use of grant beneficiaries 'personal details by Net1 is problematic.
• November 2013: Write to DSD to fast-track implementation of SASSA payment system independent of external service providers before the deadline of 2015. • 28 January 2014: Engaged DTI on legislative and policy changes to credit provisions. • 29 January 2014: Public Meeting held in Jhb with National Treasury, Public Protector, NCR, and civil society • 11 February 2014: Sash made a verbal Submission to the Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry: National Credit Amendment Bill [ B47-2013] • 26 February 2014: Meeting with Minister of DSD
• WAY FORWARD FOR THIS FORUM
• We would like to urge all our partners to critically look at the impact of those that are chronically ill falling off the Social Security System and the impact that this has had or will have on their health and their households and support the move for a Chronic Illness Grant or form of support from Government;
• We sincerely urge all partners who are aware of beneficiaries that are affected by illegal deductions to either contact our Black Sash Helpline for advice or our Regional Office to run awareness workshops on this serious issue.
THANK YOU! Evashnee Naidu 031-301 9215 (T) 031-305 2817 (F) firstname.lastname@example.org www.blacksash.org.za
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