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Backlog of over 19,000 disability grant applications since lockdown

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SASSA says it will prioritise cases through appointments

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SASSA has started processing a backlog of thousands of applications for disability grants. The process was stopped due to the lack of access to health facilities needed for the application process during lockdown. Archive photo: Mary-Anne Gontsana

The South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) says it has started accepting applications for disability grants again.

This after the processing of new applications was stopped at the start of the Covid-19 lockdown.

In July we reported that new grant applicants and beneficiaries were constantly being turned away from the Gugulethu SASSA branch without being helped or receiving an explanation of the agency’s process. We spoke to Pamela Xhishi, a disability grant beneficiary, who had last received her social grant in January.

This week SASSA Western Cape spokesperson Shivani Wahab said that processing disability applications had been affected by the limited access to health facilities during lockdown. She said cases will be prioritised and dealt with through appointments only.

Wahab said people whose medical assessments were done before lockdown with incomplete applications would be prioritised. “Medical assessments for disability grants are only valid for a period of three months. The first priority will be to complete the applications before the medicals expire. Medicals for care dependency grants do not expire, so those done prior to lockdown will result in an application,” she said.

Wahab said that all applications that were booked for assessment prior to lockdown would also be bumped up the list. She said there are over 19,000 people countrywide in the first two priority groups.

“Priority three includes permanent disability grant beneficiaries who were last paid in January 2020 because they did not complete the review process as legislatively required,” she said. There are about 1,844 of beneficiaries nationally in the priority three group.

According to SASSA, disability grants will be paid from 6 October.

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TOPICS:  Covid-19 Sassa

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