Mom gets much needed grant for ill child

2015-06-16 09:04
(Amanda Khoza, News24)

(Amanda Khoza, News24)

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Durban - Anesia Thompson, 23, cannot stop smiling. After a year-long battle with the South African Social Security Agency her child-dependency grant application has finally been approved.

The young mother of three turned to News24 last week after she was frustrated with the agencies refusal to give her a grant because it didn’t deem her son Cian, 1, dependent on her.

“I am so happy, we cannot believe that the grant was approved,” said Thompson at her Mayville home on Monday afternoon when News24 visited the family.

News24 published Thompson’s plight under the headline Mom denied much needed grant for child on June 4, 2015.

Thompson told News24 that she couldn’t risk leaving her son Cian unsupervised, even for just a few minutes because he could suffocate.

No voice

Thompson cannot take her eyes off the little boy because he has no voice, meaning that he cannot cry or barely make a sound.

His only "voice" is his facial expression, alerting his mother that something is wrong or that he needs something.

When her son was just four-weeks-old, he had a tracheostomy pipe inserted in his throat to help him breath after complications at birth.

The mother had to resign from a job at a call centre in Durban when she found out she was pregnant.

This meant that the already burdened family would have additional strain. Thompson shares a three-bedroom flat in Mayville, Durban, with her mother, two siblings and her son Caleb, 4. The family is so cash-strapped that her daughter Chloe, 6, lives with Thompson’s best friend’s family in the same complex because she can’t afford to look after her.

Care dependency grant

A year after Cian was born, Thompson applied for a care dependency grant. She was turned down three times because the agency did not believe that baby Cian was dependent on her.

“I have to physically clear the mucus from the pipe to prevent him from suffocating, if something goes wrong with the pipe he can die because he cannot breathe on his own. I cried at the Sassa offices when they turned us down the second time. I am with him 24/7,” she told News24.

Almost a week after the article was published, on June 11, while standing in a queue to see the district surgeon at Addington Hospital, Thompson received a phone call from an official from the Sassa offices informing her that her application had been approved.

“I arrived at the hospital at 07:30 that morning. We were standing in the line to make yet another application after we were turned down the third time. The official told me to wait on the side of the queue because they were going to deal with my case separately. The official asked me to wait until 13:00 because she was sending an independent doctor to assess Cian.

“The doctor came and assessed him and filled in all the necessary documents. I received a call from a Mrs Rhona Ramdin from the Sassa offices, she told me that she would be taking over the case and told us that someone was on their way to fetch us to take us to the Sassa offices in Durban.”

Finally approved

Thompson said when she arrived at the offices everything went smoothly.

“Everything was approved within minutes, the papers were filled in and we did the fingerprints, there were no hassles. When they told me that the application was approved, I was shocked. I just couldn’t believe it because I did not expect that,” said Thompson.

She said the R1 410 grant money she will receive on the first of every month will help towards the household.

“I can’t work because I have to look after Cian so this will really help us. We can buy food and it will help us with transport to the hospital to see his doctors. I am happy and grateful for the help, this will make a big difference in our lives.”

‘Words cannot describe it’

Thompson thanked News24 and Cian’s doctor, Dr Shivani Singh, a Paediatric Critical Care Specialist, at Inkosi Albert Luthuli.

 “I think Sassa officials saw the story, that is what helped to speed things up. I also received a lot of calls from people who promised to help us, words cannot describe how grateful we are,” said Thompson.

KwaZulu-Natal Sassa spokesperson Vusumuzi Mahaye confirmed that the grant had been approved. “We are just happy that we have been able to make a difference in another vulnerable family’s life,” said Mahaye. He apologised for the inconvenience suffered by Thompson and her family.

“It is unfortunate that the matter dragged for so long but we are happy that the matter has finally been sorted out,” said Mahaye.

Read more on:    sassa  |  durban  |  good news  |  social grants

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