Children, elderly get grant increases

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Cape Town - Government will spend R89 billion over the next financial year on social grants in the face of increasing unemployment and the impact of last year's recession.

Tabling his Budget Speech in Parliament on Wednesday, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said provision had been made for the extension of the child support grant up to the age of 18. State old-age pension and disability grant will rise by R70 to R1 080 a month while the child support grant will increase by R10 to R250 per month.

"We recognise that the increase in the child support grant is slightly below the inflation rate but the social benefit and the cost of bringing in two million more children implies that we have to adjust this grant more moderately," Gordhan said.

Expenditure on grants is set to increase from 3.2 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to 3.5 percent.

Nearly 14 million South Africans are benefiting from the country's social assistance programme and more than 9 million of these grants are for households with children.

In the next year, the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) will focus on widening access to social grants, improving grants administration and payments to minimise fraud.

In co-operation with the Special Investigation Unit, SASSA has cracked down on fraudulent grant claims among public servants and is currently investigating similar abuses in the public sector. It is estimated that about R300 million will be recovered from dormant accounts this year.