Social grant applications: your right to appeal

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If the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) rejects your application for a grant – whether older person’s, disability, child support, care-dependency, foster, grant-in-aid or war veterans grant – you have a right to appeal the decision within a period of 90 days from the date you receive the rejection letter.

SASSA may not communicate its decisions orally or through unofficial channels. It must:

  • Within three months of the date you applied notify you whether your application has been approved or not. This must be either delivered by hand to you (and signed for by you), or at your address (the one you gave when you applied);
  • If you’re successful they must tell you the payment details and inform you that you must notify the Agency of a change in circumstances. In the case of a refugee’s social grant or a temporary disability grant, they must tell you when it lapses;
  • If your application is refused, the Agency must inform you in writing, explaining the reasons for the refusal. They must tell you that you have the right to appeal the decision and explain how to do so.

Appeals and complaints are dealt with by the Independent Tribunal for Social Assistance Appeals. Its offices are in the Department of Social Development in Pretoria.

Before submitting an appeal to the Tribunal, you must submit a written ‘Application for Reconsideration’ to SASSA. This is an internal appeal mechanism.

With your appeal to the Tribunal, you will need to submit supporting information, including:
* Proof of your application;
* For a disability grant, previous or current medical reports;
* Proof of your income and assets;
* The SASSA rejection letter.

If you’ve missed the 90-day cut-off, you can submit an ‘Application for Condonation for Late Appeal’ in which you explain why your appeal is late. The Tribunal must decide within 90 days whether they’ll accept the late appeal.

If the Tribunal’s rejection seems unreasonable or unlawful, you can approach a court of law to overturn their decision.

The right to appeal SASSA decisions is covered in Section 33 of the Constitution dealing with the right to Just Administrative Action. It states that:

  • Everyone has the right to administrative action that is lawful, reasonable and
    procedurally fair; and
  • Everyone whose rights have been adversely affected by administrative action
    has the right to be given written reasons.

The above-mentioned constitutional right is enforced by the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act (2000) which provides for the review of adverse administrative decisions.

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