Denied Disability Benefits in South Africa? How to Appeal and Qualify

South African citizens and residents between the ages of 18 and 59 who have been rejected for a disability grant have the right to appeal the decision, according to the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA).

SASSA advised disability grant applicants to lodge an appeal within 30 days of receiving a rejection letter. The agency will then take 30 days to review the appeal and make a determination.

“If the applicant does not understand the rejection reasons they have a right to ask SASSA officials to provide clarity,” SASSA said in a November 2023 statement.

The agency explained that SASSA doctors conduct medical and functional assessments to evaluate if an applicant qualifies for temporary or permanent disability benefits. These doctors work under SASSA guidelines and regulations set by the Department of Health.

“It is only a SASSA medical contracted doctor that can conduct the assessment and submit a report to SASSA which determines whether the applicant qualify for a temporary or permanent disability grant,” SASSA stated.

In October 2023, the Minister of Finance increased the monthly disability grant amount to R2,090 due to a budget review. All approved beneficiaries will receive this higher amount.

Eligibility Requirements

To qualify for a disability grant in South Africa, applicants must:

  • Be a South African citizen, permanent resident, or refugee permanently living in South Africa
  • Be between 18 and 59 years old
  • Undergo a medical assessment confirming disability
  • Provide clinical records and referral forms about their disability
  • Pass a means test evaluating financial need
  • Not live in a state-funded institution
  • Not already receive another social grant
  • Submit a 13-digit ID or smart card for self and spouse. Alternative ID may be allowed if no birth certificate.

The disability assessment report is based on information presented to the doctor and a physical evaluation.

How to Appeal a Rejection?

If an applicant is denied disability benefits, they have 30 days to submit an appeal to SASSA. Reasons for rejection may include insufficient medical evidence or not meeting the eligibility criteria.

“The applicant must note that SASSA works together with the professional medical contracted doctors who are ensuring that qualifying applicants get the disability grant,” the agency said.

To appeal, applicants should request clarity on the rejection reasons and submit any additional medical records or information to SASSA within 30 days. SASSA will review the case and make a decision within 30 days.

Having the treating doctor or facility complete a new referral form is often helpful if the initial rejection was for insufficient medical evidence. This provides an up-to-date professional opinion of disability and functionality.

Conclusion

SASSA emphasizes that disability grant applicants should not hesitate to appeal a rejection and provide additional documentation. The agency aims to ensure all eligible South Africans can access these important benefits.

Applicants with questions or needing help with appeals can contact SASSA Monday-Friday at 0800 60 10 11 or 013 754 9428/9363. WhatsApp assistance is also available at 082 046 8553.

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