Answer to a question from a reader

How can I get SASSA to give me my late mother's last payout without her burial papers?

The short answer

Go to the funeral parlour and ask for a copy of your invoice or receipt.

The whole question

My mother passed away in 2018. Before she died, she asked me to pay her burial society, for which I took the last of my money in hopes that I could claim her last SASSA payout that she never withdrew. A month later, my sister and I went to SASSA to claim. They told us they want the person who paid for the funeral. Because we all contributed to it, my advocate advised me to go to the master of the High Court to get a letter of authority so that I can claim everything of my mother's. Her money was never withdrawn but I still don't have the burial papers. I have the letter of authority and her death certificate. What do I do?

The long answer

This is the way SASSA deals with the last unpaid benefit: if your mother did not withdraw her last SASSA payment, 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:

  • Your mother's death certificate and ID card 

  • ID of the person claiming the benefit

  • Invoice and receipt of the funeral cost.

In other words, SASSA requires the invoice and receipt of the funeral cost before they will pay out the unclaimed benefit. Even if all the family contributed to the costs of the funeral, there would only be one invoice and receipt of the funeral cost, which would have been sent to one family member.

The letter of authority gives you the right and duty to settle your mother's affairs, but it does not give you the right to claim her SASSA benefit for yourself. 

It may be that the family members who contributed to the cost of the funeral feel they also have a right to be reimbursed from the SASSA benefit. Perhaps you could call a meeting with the family members, showing them how much you paid the burial society, and come to an agreement about the best and fairest way to proceed with the unclaimed benefit.  

If the funeral invoice and receipt has been lost or mislaid, you could ask the funeral parlour for a copy.  

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 Dec. 15, 2020, noon

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Please note. We are not lawyers or financial advisors. We do our best to make the answers accurate, but we cannot accept any legal liability if there are errors.