The short answer
The Child Support Grant is paid to the primary caregiver of a child.
The whole question
I am a 30-year-old woman married to the father of three children. Their biological mother does not want to contribute on their basic needs. She uses their child support grant for her personal expenses while my husband and I are working. Is it possible to change a Child Support Grant from a biological parent to the stepmother?
The long answer
Thank you for your letter about the biological mother of your husband’s children using the Child Support Grant for her personal expenses rather than the children’s.
The Child Support Grant is paid to the primary caregiver of a child who is also living with you. If your husband’s children are living with their biological mother, SASSA will pay the Child Support Grant to her, if she qualifies in terms of the means test. If they are living with you and the father the money should go to the father as the primary caregiver.
Assuming they live with the biological mother, she qualifies if she is single and her income is less than R4,000 a month. If she is married, the combined income of herself and her husband must be less than R8,000 a month.
The fact that she gets the Child Support Grant does not mean that your husband is not required to support his children. The Maintenance Act of 1998 says that both biological parents must pay maintenance to support their children, according to how much they earn. So the mother must claim child maintenance from the father, and the amount of money she receives from him must be included in the grant application, and is taken into account as income in the means test.
Perhaps the best thing to do would be for you and your husband to set up a meeting with Families South Africa (FAMSA), which is a national organisation that provides counselling to families. You could discuss the problem with counsellors at FAMSA and they could also invite the biological mother and yourselves to a meeting with them and try to mediate an agreement that satisfies all of you.
You could ask FAMSA where their offices are in your province.
Their contact details are:
National Office: 011 975 7106 / 7
With best wishes.
Answered on May 12, 2019, 9:11 a.m.