Social grant changes for South Africa this month

 ·2 Apr 2024

The Department of Social Development has gazetted the changes to the Social Relief of Distress grant, which took effect on Monday (1 April).

The main change to the grant is the previously announced R20 hike in its value to R370 per month and adjusting the applicable times to end in March 2025.

However, in addition to changing the grant’s value and extending its duration, the department also amended the regulations to introduce new recovery processes and to better deal with irregular payments.

Specifically, the amendments introduce a “recovery and uncollected benefits” section to the regulations, which empowers the department to “recover all monies paid to any person in the event that such a person was not entitled to benefit from the grant”.

The department can also now suspend the payment of the grant if beneficiaries do not keep their details up to date, and it also now makes provision for the grant to lapse after a beneficiary has passed away.

The payment of the grant has been mired by many cases of irregular payments to beneficiaries that were either not supposed to be receiving the grant, or where the grant was collected on behalf of recipients who had passed away.

Having the reins tightened on the grant is an important aspect of the R20 increase, which was not budgeted for in the 2024 budget.

According to the Bureau for Economic Research (BER), the R20 rise will cost the fiscus about R2.2 billion extra in 2024/25 than anticipated in February, which is concerning given South Africa’s precarious financial standing.

The only way to contain this spending is to ensure that only those who are supposed to receive the grant actually get it, and that money does not ‘leak out’ through irregularities.

While the grant has been officially extended to March 2025, there is speculation that it will be extended again in the future, with the National Treasury provisionally allocated funding for the SRD until March 2027.

The SRD grant was allocated R33.6 billion in 2024/25 with provisional allocations of R35.2 billion and R36.8 billion for the 2025/26 and 2026/27 financial years.

It is widely expected that the grant will eventually become the long-promised basic income grant that has been featured prominently in ANC campaigning ahead of the 2024 elections.

In addition to the latest SRD grant changes, other grant increases are also now in effect.

As announced in the 2024 budget, permanent social grants have been increased to keep up with inflation and improve access.

The new grants are as follows:

  • The old age grant is up from R2,085 to R2,185;
  • The old age grants for those over the age of 75 have increased to R2,205;
  • Grants for war veterans increased from R2,105 to R2,205;
  • Disability grants are up to R2,185;
  • The Foster care grants increased to R1,175;
  • Care dependency grants rose from R2,085 to R2,185; and
  • Child support grants are up to R525.

Read: Ramaphosa promises Basic Income Grant for South Africa is coming

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