Answer to a question from a reader

Does SASSA go against the Constitution by considering all marriages as in community of property for grant applications?

The short answer

Probably not.

The whole question

Dear Athalie

When I applied for the Older Persons Grant, my application was rejected because my husband's pension exceeded the means test. We are married out of community of property and I have no income of my own. Surely the Constitution protects the various marriage regimes that the parties have chosen to apply to their marriage? I have been informed that SASSA issued regulations instructing their officials to ignore the consequences of a marriage out of community of property and, in essence, impose those applicable to a marriage in community of property when considering grant applications. Is this approach constitutionally correct?

The long answer

A January 2019 article by candidate attorney Carol-Ann Wheeler in News 24 clarifies, “It makes no difference if the applicant is married in community of property or out of community of property. The income of a spouse is taken into account whether you are married in or out of community of property.”
I imagine that it would pass constitutional muster as the social assistance provided by an older person’s grant is expressly meant to support those who have no other income. If you have a husband whose pension exceeds the limit allowed by the means test, it could not be argued that you are without any other income.

Wishing you the best,

Answered on May 18, 2021, 2:09 p.m.

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