Pensioner must prove she’s alive

2009-04-09 00:00

An elderly woman has been told by Social Welfare to prove that she is still alive.

Merl O’Donnell (74) of Pietermaritzburg said that is what she was told by the Social Welfare Department when she went to collect her pension this month.

“They said that if I do not provide them with a life certificate within three months I would stop receiving my pension.”

According to O’Donnell, she has been receiving contradictory information from the staff.

“When I went to get my life certificate done, the man there told me I didn’t need a life certificate [for her pension] and I should just bring my ID book and three bank statements. I don’t know what to do,” she said.

O’Donnell said she has been a pensioner since 2003 and is usually paid on the third of every month, but she still has not received any pension payment for this month.

She said that when she did not receive her payment last Friday she made several calls to the bank and the department’s offices.

She said she would be going back to the department today, but that one of the helpers from the old age home where she stays would have to accompany her and help with her wheelchair.

O’Donnell said she hopes the matter will be resolved quickly because she cannot handle travelling around a lot and waiting in long queues. “I have had a double hip replacement and I have asthma,” she said.

Paseka Letsatsi , spokeswoman for the South African Social Security Agency, said they will investigate the matter.

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