Govt to extend child grant beyond 18 years

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Cape Town – Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini says government intends to extend the child support grant beyond the age of 18 for children who remain in school after they turn 18.

She said this would not include all children, and only targeted children would be eligible for the support depending on their circumstances.

“The child support grant is a huge investment in human capital development, and to this extent, we need to ensure that it is not terminated when the child turns 18. To this end, we intend to work with families to save a portion of the child support grant every month to be available when the child turns 18.

“Similarly, we have made notable strides in increasing the uptake of the older person’s grant by amongst others increasing the means test threshold to ensure that more elderly people benefit from the grant. 

“The increase in the means test threshold brought in 82 000 new recipients of the older persons grant in November 2014,” she said.

Thokozani Magwaza, a Deputy Director General at the department, said this would not include all children.

“This age cohort that we are talking about on the 18 to 21 are only those that will still be at school when they turn 18.

“The reason why we are doing this is that on the foster care side, the foster care child when he turns 18 is not removed from the system, they carry on until they turn 21,” he said. 

Brenton Van Vrede, an acting Deputy Director General at the department, said this would cost R3 billion to implement, and that the department was in negotiation with National Treasury on when it would be fiscally possible to implement it.

Social grants taking families out of poverty

Minister Dlamini said, meanwhile, that social grants are important as they help take vulnerable families out of the cycle of poverty.

The Minister said this when responding to a question on the sustainability of social grants during a media briefing following her budget vote speech, which she tabled in Parliament on Tuesday.

My question has always been, ‘is poverty sustainable?’.

“Our social assistance focusses on vulnerable groups. Social assistance is for children, older persons, and people with disabilities.

“If you look at the number of children that are grant recipients, it shows that we are actually focusing in taking families out of the cycle of poverty. Our children who are grant recipients go to school but what is important is that they have a meal a day.

“Grants are not a luxury, they are a must for our people,” Minister Dlamini said. – SAnews.gov.za

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