The Older Person’s Grant – also known as the state old-age pension – is intended to help people who have reached retirement age, have stopped working, and who are struggling financially. If you are over 60 but still enjoy a regular source of income – from investments, rentals or a private pension – or you own assets over a certain amount, you will not be able to claim a pension from the state.
How much could I get?
If you qualify, you will receive monthly payments at the current level. This increases every year, by a very small amount. It’s currently R1 890 per month (or R1 910 if you are older than 75 years).
If you are applying for accommodation at Tafta, a state pension is one of the minimum requirements.
How do I know if I qualify?
You can apply for a state pension if:
1. You are a South African citizen, permanent resident or refugee, currently living in South Africa.
2. You are 60 years of age or older.
3. You do not receive any other social grant for yourself.
4. You do not live in a state institution (e.g. a state old age home or rehabilitation centre). If you live in a Tafta Home, this rule does not apply, as our homes are all owned and managed by our organisation.
5. You qualify in terms of the means test.
The first four criteria are pretty straightforward. But how do you know if you qualify in terms of the means test?
Because social grants are intended for people who can’t support themselves, the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) looks at the income and assets of the applicant to determine whether or not they qualify.
If you are single, your total monthly income must not exceed R7 190. If you are married, you and your spouse will be assessed jointly and you will need to prove that your total monthly income is below R14 380. Even if you have no monthly income yourself, if your spouse earns R14 380 or more a month, you will not qualify for the old age grant.
If you have any dependent children who are earning any income (eg part time or piece work) you will need to disclose this as well, as part of your monthly income.
Your assets will also be taken into consideration. If you have assets worth R1 227 600 or more, you will not be able to claim the old age grant. If you are married, you and your spouse’s combined assets cannot exceed R2 455 200.
Can I apply if I am still working?
Yes, you can, provided your income is below R7 190 per month, and that your assets are less than R1 227 600.
I own a house worth over R1 million. Does this automatically exclude me from qualifying for an old age grant?
If you own any property, you need to declare this. However, if you live in the property you own, it will not affect the means test, which is based on your monthly income. If you and your spouse own a home worth more than R2.45 million, you may have difficulty in claiming the old age grant as you would be deemed to have the opportunity to downsize, and use the balance of the money to help fund your retirement.
How to apply
Either go to your nearest South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) office and complete a form in the presence of a SASSA officer, or you can apply online at www.services.sassa.gov.za. There is no fee payable.
You will need to submit the following documents:
1. Your identity document and the ID of your spouse
2. Proof of marital status, eg. Marriage certificate, spouse’s death certificate, divorce order
3. Proof of income for yourself, your spouse (if married) and any dependent children
4. Proof of your assets, including the value of any property you own
5. Proof of private pension (if any)
If you don’t have access to the Internet and are too old/sick to go to the office to apply for a grant, it may be possible for a family member or friend to apply on your behalf (check with your closest SASSA office first). Alternatively, they may visit you in your home to complete the necessary paperwork. There is no charge to apply, so do not be misled by any unscrupulous individual who requests payment.
How long does it take before I start receiving my payments?
It may take up to 3 months to process your application, but if you are successful you will be paid from the date on which you applied. You will be issued with a SASSA card and can collect your payment at the post office, designated bank or other pay points (eg at supermarkets and some old age homes). You can also request to have the money deposited electronically into your bank or Postbank account.
You can use your SASSA card to pay for goods at the till, or to withdraw cash from till points in selected stores (e.g. Checkers) or any post office or ATM, without incurring any fees.
If your application is refused, you’ll get a letter explaining why it has been refused. If you feel that a mistake has been made, you can appeal the decision within 90 days of being notified.
For more information about qualifying rules, payout dates and district offices, please call the SASSA toll-free helpline on 0800 601 011.