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Disability Grant Applicants Resort to Sleeping Outside SASSA Office



Disability Grant Applicants Resort to Sleeping Outside SASSA Office

Disability Grant Applicants Resort to Sleeping Outside SASSA Office. Disability grant applicants in Philippi, Cape Town, are enduring sleepless nights outside the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) office at Beautiful Gate. They hope to secure assistance when the office opens, as they seek to determine their eligibility for the disability grant.

A Quest for Disability Grants

 Many individuals remain in line outside the SASSA office, patiently waiting to submit or collect forms needed to assess their eligibility for the grant. While SASSA offers online document submission and appointments, numerous applicants struggle to access the online portal and opt to visit the office in person. The disability grant is currently valued at R2,090, but before approval, applicants must undergo assessment by a state doctor who recommends the grant’s suitability.

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Challenges and Frustrations

 For some, the process proves arduous. A woman with severe short-leg syndrome from Lower Crossroads revealed that she had been queuing since the early hours to collect a form for a doctor’s assessment. She voiced her frustration, emphasizing the need for a faster process, especially when the system experiences downtime. Previously, they could submit doctor’s forms and IDs online, but now, in-person visits are mandatory, leading to longer waiting times.

Tiring Conditions

 Fatigued from standing for hours, people resort to sitting on hard pavements and makeshift boxes. Some still clutch blankets from their chilly overnight stays, while one individual rents chairs to those in the queue for a nominal fee. The queue moves at a snail’s pace, and at times, SASSA staff collect IDs from those in need of forms, only to return them without the required documents.

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SASSA Recent Performance

Applicants lament that SASSA’s service over the past two weeks has been slower than usual, assisting an average of about ten people daily. In response to the cumbersome process, some have adopted a collective approach. They take turns queuing during the day while others are at work, with the goal of holding a spot in line for each other. Food sharing among applicants is also common.

Black Sash Perspective

 Thandi Henkeman, the Black Sash Western Cape Regional Manager, highlighted that beneficiaries sleeping at payment sites is not a new issue. She cited a previous incident at the Khayelitsha SASSA office, attributing it to the poor appointment system. Beneficiaries camped outside to secure a spot for the following day.

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Challenges with SASSA Online System

 Henkeman stressed that SASSA’s online system isn’t always reliable and accessible to everyone. It often poses technical challenges. However, SASSA spokesperson Shivani Wahab clarified that the organization has no control over clients sleeping outside its offices. She emphasized that clients should never be required to spend the night at SASSA contact points, even in the face of technical issues.

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