Answer to a question from a reader

Can SASSA terminate my wife's pension because I am a GEPF member?

The short answer

All SASSA grants are means-tested. If your combined income is too high, SASSA will not pay her

The whole question

Dear Athalie

After the death of my first wife, I married my second wife out of community of property. Since then, SASSA has terminated her pension because I am a member of the GEPF. Is this allowed?

The long answer

All the SASSA grants are means-tested: that means there is a limit to the amount of income and assets you can have and still qualify for a SASSA grant.

In terms of the old age grant, the husband or wife of the person drawing the SASSA pension must comply with the means test as well to satisfy SASSA that the combined income of the married couple is not higher than the amount set. This applies whether or not you are married in community of property.

In 2020, a couple could earn up to R164,880 annually to qualify in terms of the means test.

To qualify for the SASSA pension, a person’s annual income should be less than R82,400 if they are single and R164,880 if they are married. The worth of the person’s assets should not be more than R1,174,800 if they are single and R2,349,600 if they are married.

A pensioner is supposed to inform SASSA if their circumstances change. SASSA is also entitled to conduct a review to see whether the pensioner still qualifies in terms of the means test.

If your wife’s marriage meant that your joint income and assets were more than the figures quoted above, SASSA is entitled to suspend the pension.

If SASSA is incorrect in thinking that she no longer qualifies in terms of your joint income, you can appeal to the National Department of Social Development within 90 days of being informed that her pension would no longer be paid.

To find out more about an appeal, you can contact SASSA at their toll-free number on 0800 60 10 11.

You could also ask a paralegal organisation like the Black Sash for help and advice at their National Toll-free Helpline for free paralegal assistance: 072 66 33 739

Wishing you the best,

Answered on March 3, 2021, 11:50 a.m.

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