Answer to a question from a reader

My wife, who was receiving a SASSA old-age grant, died. Can I claim anything from SASSA?

The short answer

If no pension at all had been withdrawn in the month she died, the family member who paid for the funeral can apply to SASSA for “unclaimed benefits”.

The whole question

My wife passed away from cancer. When I tried to access her pension there was a very small balance.

I then proceeded to a SASSA Office and after a long wait was referred to a consultant who was very rude to me and said I was not entitled to anything.

Please could you explain what I am entitled to. How are poorer people supposed to bury their dead?

The long answer

Thank you for your email asking why SASSA did not allow you to access your late wife’s pension.

We are sorry for your loss and sorry too that you were treated so disrespectfully by the SASSA consultant.

As it is linked to the Home Affairs population register, SASSA will be immediately notified when a death is registered, and will then cancel the grant on the last day of the month in which the person died. It is not possible to inherit a pension from a spouse.

If your wife had already drawn her pension in September before she died and the grant was cancelled at the end of the month, there would not be any other monies due.

If no pension at all had been withdrawn in the month she died, the family member who paid for the funeral can apply to SASSA for “unclaimed benefits”, and would need to bring the following documents to the office:

  • Death certificate and ID card of your late wife

  • ID of the person claiming the benefit

  • Invoice and receipt of the funeral cost.

You could also ask the Black Sash to advise you on your rights at this advice hotline number: 072 66 33 739. You can send them a “please call me” if you don’t have airtime.

Answered on Oct. 17, 2019, 2:40 p.m.

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