What Happens To SASSA Pension After Death In South Africa?

By Tevait Feanle •  Updated: 04/19/24 •  5 min read

In South Africa, the SASSA Pension, more correctly known as the SASSA Older Persons Grant, offers a crucial financial lifeline to older people who cannot financially support themselves. However, there is often confusion about what happens after their death, especially if you were financially dependent on the deceased. Today we look at some common questions about this unfortunate event. 

What Happens To SASSA Pension After Death In South Africa?

Once the recipient of a SASSA Grant, like the SASSA Pension, passes away, the grant will be canceled. If you are their legal representative or their next of kin, you have a duty to inform SASSA that they have passed, although they will also often pick up this information from the Department of Home Affairs. 

The ‘SASSA Pension’ does not work like traditional pensions or RAs, which may have a residual benefit which is payable to the heirs. This is partially why SASSA now refers to this grant as the SASA Older Persons Grant, not a pension. If the deceased had accumulated unused funds on their SASSA card, the heir responsible for the funeral may be able to apply for those funds through what is known as an ‘unclaimed benefit’ claim to offset funeral costs, but that will be the most received for the deceased once they pass. You will be required to show receipts for the funeral to claim this amount.

How Can I Claim My Deceased Parent’s SASSA Funeral Cover?

Since 2017, SASSA has allowed grant recipients to pay up to 10% of their grant money towards funeral cover. Technically, this amount, called a 26A contribution, is not actually paid back to SASSA but rather into a formal funeral policy. You can contact SASSA to get the details of where the policy is held and how to claim from it to cover the costs of the funeral. You can call their hotline (0800 601 011) for assistance.

How Much Is SASSA’s Funeral Policy?

SASSA itself does not offer a funeral policy. Instead, SASSA grant recipients have been able to sign a mandate allowing SASSA to pay up to 10% of their SASSA monies into a funeral policy directly. So the amount of money in the deceased SASSA funeral policy will depend on the amount paid and for how long they have been paying it. You can phone the SASSA helpline to get information on how to make a claim on the policy. Typically, you will be required to provide receipts from the funeral and will not simply receive a cash lump sum without proof, as with some private policies and UIF death claims. This amount could be up to R22 000, but it will be highly dependent on individual circumstances and is best clarified with SASSA directly.

How Many Months Does SASSA Pay After Death?

SASSA will only pay out the due grant money for the month in which the deceased passes away. Past that point, there will be no further direct support from SASSA based on the individual’s grant- it does not work like the UIF death benefit claim does. If the deceased did not collect any of their grant money in the month they die or had residual funds in their account, you can apply for an ‘unclaimed benefit’ to help offset funeral costs, which will be the totality of that final month’s payment. However, if you were a dependent of the deceased, you may now qualify for other SASSA grants based on your own circumstances. You can chat with a social worker or SASSA employee to navigate this tricky time and access any help you qualify for.

Who Qualifies For SASSA Funeral Benefits?

SASSA funeral benefits through their funeral policy pay-in are available to any South African citizen or permanent resident who is a beneficiary of a SASSA grant or social security benefit. It is, of course, expected that the immediate next of kin in charge of the burial will both inform SASSA of the deceased’s passing and make any final claims due to them. Remember, you will need proof of the funeral expenditure- namely receipts or invoices- to make these claims.

What Is The Maximum Amount Of Funeral Cover In South Africa?

If the deceased also carried non-SASSA funeral cover, then the amount will depend on the policy they held. These are set by the individual policy and can cover any amount the covered person wishes. Remember that SASSA will limit payment coverage based on the funeral cost and such monies as were due to the deceased up until their death and that the SASSA funeral policy will be dependent on amounts received and time paid.

Losing a loved one is never easy, and when you rely on SASSA grants to help you with your cost of living, the loss of a family member can be financially devastating too. While SASSA does not offer specific after-death coverage, there is some ability to cover funeral costs with due SASSA monies, so it is advised to talk with the SASSA representative when you present the death certificate and notify them of the deceased’s death to see what financial aid is available to you.

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