Answer to a question from a reader

Will my son who has Down's Syndrome qualify for a state disability grant, and will I be means tested?

The short answer

He will be eligible and you will be means tested

The whole question

My son with Down's Syndrome currently lives with me, and is unable to care for himself. He will be turning 18 next year January.
Will he be eligible for the disability grant provided by the state?
If yes, will I, as his primary care giver, be subjected to the ‘means test’ in order for him to qualify or not?

The long answer

Thank you for your email asking if your son with Down’s Syndrome will qualify for a state disability grant, and whether you will be subjected to the means test to establish whether he qualifies or not.

Yes, he will be eligible for the SASSA disability grant, and yes, you will need to undergo the means test.

All the state grants are means-tested.

You will have to submit a medical assessment report not older than three months at the date of your application, confirming disability.

Judging from reports from distressed parents about the response of Sassa officials to disability applications for Down’s Syndrome, there is widespread ignorance about the condition within Sassa. This started to be addressed in February 2019 by a joint workshop between Sassa, Down’s Syndrome SA and Autism SA. After a presentation, Sassa manager Akona Mbombo admitted that Sassa officials didn’t understand what Down’s Syndrome was, nor that it was identified by a blood test. He said that Sassa would take steps to address the problem and educate its officials.

I mention this so that you are forewarned if you encounter ignorance of the condition from Sassa officials, and so that you should not be discouraged from pressing your son’s claim, should you qualify.

Answered on March 10, 2020, 9:09 a.m.

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