If you are aware that the child support grant received by a caregiver is being misused, you have the responsibility to report the matter to the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA).
According to SASSA Spokesperson Paseka Letsatsi, the child support grant is paid to the caregiver, but is intended for the care of the child. The grant is currently R480 per month per child.
The child support grant was introduced by government to provide financial support to children who live in poor households.
“As soon as misuse is reported, an investigation is undertaken. If the investigation finds that the money received does not benefit the child, SASSA may appoint someone else to receive and administer the grant on behalf of the child,”
He adds that it is critical that the primary caregiver, who actually cares for the child on a day-to-day basis, is the registered beneficiary.
“In an instance where a child moves from one caregiver to another, the grant is supposed to follow the child. The original caregiver is expected to report to SASSA that the child is no longer in his/her care, and the new primary caregiver must then come in to apply for the grant,”
Letsatsi says people who continue to receive child support grants after the children are no longer in their care, will be required to repay the amount received unlawfully. They may also be subject to criminal prosecution if the intention to defraud the state can be confirmed.
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The same consequences apply to people who misuse care dependency grants – which are given by SASSA to provide financial support to children with severe disabilities who require full-time care, disability grants or older persons grants.
“If the money is used for alcohol, drugs or gambling, and not for the support of the person who qualifies for the grant, the same process of reporting should be followed,”
Who can apply for child support grant?
According to Letsatsi, any South African citizen, permanent resident or documented refugee who cares for a child, whether or not that child is his or her biological child, may apply for a child support grant, provided he/she meets the criteria listed below:
• The child and caregiver must live permanently in South Africa.
• The caregiver must be 16 years of age (in the case of child-headed households) or older.
• The child must be younger than 18.
• The grant recipient must be the child’s primary caregiver and the child must live with him/her.
• The recipient must meet the requirements of the means test (income test).
If the primary caregiver is single (never married, divorced or widowed), his/her income cannot be more than R4 800 per month.
If the primary caregiver is married, the combined income of the applicant and his/her spouse cannot be more than R9 600 per month.
The spouse’s income will be considered in all instances – regardless of whether the couple is married in or out of community of property, under customary or Asian rites, are in a civil union or if the applicant and his/her spouse are not the child’s birth parents.
“As soon as misuse is reported, an investigation is undertaken. If the investigation finds that the money received does not benefit the child, SASSA may appoint someone else to receive and administer the grant on behalf of the child.”
To report grant misuse, call SASSA at 0800 60 10 11 (toll-free).
This article was originally published in the GCIS Vuk’uzenzele.