Relatives caring for orphaned children called to apply for grant top-up

Friday, September 30, 2022

Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu has called all relatives who are caring for orphaned children to apply for Child Support Grant (CSG) Top-Up at their nearest South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) offices. 

In a statement on Friday, the Department of Social Development said the ‘Top-Up’ is an additional amount of R240 that is added to the standard CSG amount of R480.

“This means that a relative caring for an orphaned child; specifically a grandparent, brother, sister, uncle, aunt or cousin of the child, can now receive a higher valued Child Support Grant per month of R720, instead of the standard Child Support Grant (CSG) amount of R480.

“It is important to note that the CSG Top-Up is not a new grant, but an additional amount to the basic Child Support Grant,” the department said.

The department said that the same eligibility criteria that apply to the CSG will therefore also apply to the CSG Top-Up.

The only additional proof required is proof that the child is an orphan and to prove this, caregivers will need to submit death certificates of the child’s parents.

“If they only have one death certificate because they do not know the other parent or do not know whether the other parent has passed on or alive, they can complete an affidavit at SASSA Offices, which explains this matter,” the department said.  

Minister Zulu said that she desires that all caregivers of orphans know that the CSG Top-Up is available now at all SASSA offices and relatives do not need a social worker report or a court order to access it.

She explained that the department is now using the successful and easily accessible CSG programme to reach orphans so that relatives caring for orphans have speedy access to an adequate social grant to cover the child’s basic needs.

Increasing the amount of the Child Support Grant for orphans is government’s latest investment aimed at creating a better life for children living in poverty.

“The CSG currently reaches over 13 million children living in poverty. It is government’s most successful social protection programme in terms of coverage and positive impact for children.

“The Department just completed a review of child poverty and the Child Support which has revealed that as the CSG was expanded to reach more children over the years of 2003 to 2013, the child food poverty decreased by 20 percentage points from 53% to 33% over the same period.

“This recent review and numerous previous empirical studies have proven that increased government investments in children’s grants have resulted in improved outcomes for children in the areas of poverty, health, nutrition, and education,” Minister Zulu said.

The minister added that many relatives caring for orphans are already receiving the CSG of R480.

She said that for many households this may not be enough to provide for the child’s basic nutritional needs as it is below the food poverty line of R624/month.

The Department has therefore, introduced the ‘Top-Up’ to increase the amount for orphans to R720. 

This provision was introduced on 01 June 2022 and allows for relatives caring for orphans to have access to an adequate social grant without having to go through the Foster Care System.

This means caregivers do not need to see a social worker or get a court order to apply for the CSG Top-Up which will ensure that all orphans living in poverty receive an adequate social grant speedily. 

A related caregiver who is caring for an orphaned child and is already receiving a R480 CSG for that child, can now go to their nearest SASSA office to apply for the Top-Up of R240 to be added to their monthly CSG.

In regards to a related caregiver who is caring for an orphaned child that is not yet receiving a CSG for the child in their care, the department said they can apply for the Child Support Grant and the Top-Up at the same time.

“It is anticipated that the application process, verification and payment would be processed within a month to ensure that relatives caring for orphans receive their social grants speedily,” the department said.

The public is urged to note that the only caregiver that needs to see a social worker before they can approach SASSA are children under 18 years who are looking after their orphaned siblings in a Child Headed Households.

“Before they approach SASSA, they need to see a social worker who will assess their situation, complete a form in terms of s137 of the Children’s Act, and provide them with the extra support they need due to not having an adult in the household,” the department said. – SAnews.gov.za

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