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Caregivers of orphans encouraged to access child support grant top-up

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While the means test threshold to qualify to be a recipient of the social relief of distress (SRD) grant has been increased from R350 to R624, social development minister Lindiwe Zulu says they may have to consider a further adjustment to the threshold to enable more applicants to qualify.

On Monday Zulu held a briefing on the child support top-up and R350 Covid-19 SRD grants.

Regarding payments, Zulu said they continue to experience challenges with beneficiaries who upload incorrect bank details.

Zulu encouraged applicants of the SRD grant not to change their bank details frequently because every change requires the new account to be verified.

“Once your bank details are loaded or updated, please wait for a response from your bank before changing your details. The most important challenge we continue to experience is the low uptake of the benefit by less than 50% of the budgeted amount. This is a very serious indictment for the department because we continue to see growing numbers of hungry and distressed people in the communities where we work,” she said.

Zulu said nearly 7.5-million people are receiving the benefit monthly.

She encouraged all relatives caring for orphaned children to apply for the child support grant top-up at their nearest South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) office.

Zulu said the “top-up” means an additional R240 that supplements the standard child support grant amount of R480.

This was not a new grant, she clarified.

“The additional R240 to the standard R480 is enabled by a 2015 cabinet-approved policy. The provisions of this policy enable me as social development minister to introduce the higher value child support grant top-up for orphans. As a result, on June 1 2022, and with the concurrence of the minister of finance, I introduced the child support grant top-up.”

She said no social worker’s report or court order is needed to access the top-up, and only relatives caring for an orphaned child can apply for and receive the total R720 per child per month.

“South Africans should keep in mind the only caregiver who needs to see a social worker before they can approach Sassa are children under 18 years who are looking after their orphaned siblings in child-headed households. Before they approach Sassa, they need to see a social worker who will assess their situation, complete a form in terms of section 137 of the Children’s Act, and provide them with the extra support they need due to not having an adult in the household.”

Zulu said increasing the amount for orphans was the government’s latest investment aimed at creating a better life for children living in poverty.

The minister said additional proof is required from the caregiving relative to show that both parents are deceased.

She said the turnaround time for the application, verification and payment should be within one month.

Source: TimesLIVE

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