Can SASSA Put My Pension Under Review Without Warning me?

Can SASSA Put My Pension Under Review Without Warning me?

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By Anele Zulu

The South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) is responsible for managing and distributing social grants in South Africa. This includes pensions for eligible senior citizens. SASSA has the authority to review pensions from time to time to verify recipients still qualify. However, there are rules SASSA must follow regarding reviews and notification.

If you have encountered rude treatment by SASSA staff or believe your review was conducted improperly, you can submit complaints directly to SASSA as well as external organizations like the Black Sash or South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC). In this guide we will cover SASSA pension reviews, your notification rights, and how to file complaints if needed.

SASSA Pension Reviews

SASSA periodically reviews pensions to verify recipients still meet eligibility criteria based on factors like income and assets. According to the SASSA website, your income declared when originally applying is the main basis for review decisions.

Reviews can occur for reasons like:

  • Changed personal circumstances – Income, marital status, dependents, etc.
  • Review outcomes – Prior reviews that required follow-up
  • Lack of cooperation – Not providing requested information
  • Fraud or misrepresentation – Providing false application information
  • Application mistakes – Errors in initial approval decisions

If SASSA determines you no longer qualify during a review, your pension can be suspended pending additional information or terminated if criteria are still unmet.

Notification Rules for Reviews

SASSA must provide three months’ advance notice before conducting most pension reviews. The only exception is when your annual life certificate is due. This affidavit verifies you are still living and must be completed at SASSA offices yearly if you receive your pension through alternate channels besides direct deposit.

Outside the life certificate deadline, you should receive written notification at least three months prior stating the specific date and location of your upcoming review appointment. This gives you time to prepare documents and ensure you can attend.

If your pension was suspended without advance notice, an immediate in-person review, or life certificate deadline, SASSA did not follow proper protocol.

Rude and Unprofessional Treatment from SASSA Staff

In addition to review guidelines, SASSA personnel must uphold standards of dignity, respect, and courtesy per South Africa’s Batho Pele (People First) principles for public services as an article by Legal Fundi. This means you should expect and receive:

  • Professional, courteous communications and behavior
  • Accurate information about grants and the review process
  • Respectful treatment facilitating your access to entitled services

Yelling, threats, intimidation, shaming, and other rude behaviors violate Batho Pele principles. SASSA staff also cannot inhibit your lawful access to entitled social services like pension grants.

If you experienced mistreatment by SASSA personnel in any form, you have valid grounds to submit complaints and request follow-up.

How to Complain about SASSA Pension Review Issues?

If your experience with a SASSA pension review violated rules or expectations in any way, you can complain directly to SASSA as well as external advocacy groups for additional support.

SASSA Complaints

You should begin by submitting complaints directly to SASSA about issues like:

  • Lack of proper advance pension review notice
  • Rude, threatening, or otherwise inappropriate staff treatment
  • Wrongful denial or suspension of your pension

To file complaints with the national SASSA office:

When complaining, provide full details like relevant dates/times, names of staff involved, what happened, what was said, what problems or issues resulted, how it made you feel, and what action you believe SASSA should take.

SASSA encourages input to help resolve issues and improve services. Maintain copies of all complaints and related correspondence should further action be necessary.

In addition, those wanting to verify the current standing of their pension may utilize “SASSA Status Check” tool available on our website or mobile app to conveniently access up-to-date details related to review statuses.

External Advocacy and Support

Third-party organizations also help people experiencing issues with SASSA like improper pension reviews. They provide advice, investigate problems, facilitate complaints, and lobby on your behalf which often carries more leverage.

Two of the main external groups that assist with SASSA-related issues are:

  • Black Sash – Well-known nonprofit empowering disadvantaged South Africans regarding their legal, social and human rights.
  • SAHRC – The legally mandated national institution established to support constitutional democracy by promoting, protecting and monitoring human rights.

Black Sash

Black Sash helps clients like those facing pension struggles through services including:

  • Free legal and social grant advice
  • Investigating and intervening in grant problems
  • Assisting clients to submit appeals and complaints

Contact Black Sash for assistance via:

  • Email: [email protected]
  • Phone: 072 66 33 73 or 063 610 1865 (SMS or Please Call Me if no airtime)

SAHRC

The SAHRC works to resolve human rights violations through mediation, negotiation and providing recommendations. Their assistance with SASSA includes:

  • Submitting complaints regarding poor service, corruption or discrimination
  • Investigations into human rights infringements
  • Advocating and lobbying for clients’ interests

To request SAHRC assistance, visit SAHRC website to download a complaint form you’ll submit detailing what happened with SASSA and why it violates your rights. SAHRC complaints can also bolster pension appeals submitted to SASSA simultaneously.

In Review

SASSA provides a vital service helping South Africans in need through programs like senior pensions. However, these systems are not perfect. You maintain important rights around how SASSA administers services like reviews and staff conduct expectations.

If SASSA violates rules or mistreats you regarding your pension, never hesitate to speak up through formal complaint processes. SASSA, Black Sash, SAHRC and other groups can all help ensure appropriate corrections and treatment going forward.

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