Sassa funeral benefits one step closer - minister

2016-11-01 18:43
Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini (Netwerk24)

Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini (Netwerk24)

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Cape Town – The addition of funeral benefits for the elderly in the proposed amendments to the Social Assistance Act would mean more money in the pockets of beneficiaries, the department has said.

Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini briefed the media on Tuesday about the amendments, which have been approved to be released for public comment.

These amendments include changes to the administration of social grants.

They also seek to establish a supplementary benefits fund which will enable government to provide funeral benefits to the elderly.

The department said, currently, the elderly used up to 10% of their Sassa money for funeral policies.

Roughly R2bn was deducted for funeral benefits from Sassa beneficiaries, and the department could offer the same service for around R50 per beneficiary or less, it said on Tuesday.

Beneficiaries vulnerable to exploitation

This would mean the elderly could spend less on funeral policies, which would result in more money in the pocket, Dlamini said.

The introduction of a supplementary benefits fund provided the means for government to provide additional benefits, such as funeral benefits and any other linked benefits, she said.

"Lack of death and funeral [policies] as social security benefits has left social grant beneficiaries vulnerable to exploitative and predatory practices by private insurance providers. Funeral costs are amongst the highest expense for low-income earners. Most poor South Africans are unprepared for the eventuality of death."

There was also the matter of bad conduct on the part of financial service providers, she said.

"Beneficiaries are sold multiple products under the understanding that it is a Sassa benefit. We have evidence that some brokers have even put Sassa logos on their cars when selling their products."

The amendments would also allow for additional amounts to be given through the child support grant to orphans and child-headed households, Dlamini said.

Read more on:    sassa  |  bathabile dlamini

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