Does SASSA go against the Constitution by considering all marriages as in community of property for grant applications?

accreditation
0:00
play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
Being married in community of property basically means that all the assets and debts from before the marriage are shared in a joint estate between both spouses.
Being married in community of property basically means that all the assets and debts from before the marriage are shared in a joint estate between both spouses.

The following question is part of Groundup's Answers to your questions series and comes from a reader who has questions about SASSA grant applications and the constitutionality of SASSA's consideration of marriages as in community of property.

Does SASSA go against the Constitution by considering all marriages as in community of property for grant applications?

The short answer

Probably not.

The whole question

Dear Athalie

When I applied for the Older Persons Grant, my application was rejected because my husband's pension exceeded the means test. We are married out of community of property and I have no income of my own.

Surely the Constitution protects the various marriage regimes that the parties have chosen to apply to their marriage?

I have been informed that SASSA issued regulations instructing their officials to ignore the consequences of a marriage out of community of property and, in essence, impose those applicable to a marriage in community of property when considering grant applications.

Is this approach constitutionally correct?

Also see: I am a minor. What can I do if my parent is being neglectful.

The long answer

A January 2019 article by candidate attorney Carol-Ann Wheeler in News 24 clarifies, "It makes no difference if the applicant is married in community of property or out of community of property. The income of a spouse is taken into account whether you are married in or out of community of property."

I imagine that it would pass constitutional muster as the social assistance provided by an older person’s grant is expressly meant to support those who have no other income.

If you have a husband whose pension exceeds the limit allowed by the means test, it could not be argued that you are without any other income.

Wishing you the best,
Athalie

Read the original GroundUp here

Chatback:

Share your stories and questions with us via email at chatback@parent24.com. Anonymous contributions are welcome.

Don't miss a story!

For a weekly wrap of our latest parenting news and advice sign up to our free Friday Parent24 newsletter.

Follow us, and chat, on Facebook and Twitter.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24