Poverty and unemployment cause many families to rely on government grants for their survival. This happens especially in households where grants are the only source of income. More than one million people who faced poverty and hardship because they did not qualify for social grants in the past, can now apply. This is because the maximum income for people to qualify is now higher. For example, in the past, you only qualified to apply for the child support grant if you earned R1 100 or less per month. This has now been increased to R2 200 per month. To qualify for the care dependency grant you had to earn R4 000 or less. This has been increased to R9 400 per month. The maximum monthly income for people to qualify to apply for the old-age grant has been increased from R1 900 to R2 200 per month.
Social Assistance Amendment Act
In the past, men could only get their old age pension at the age of 65, while women qualified at the age of 60. Because this was seen as being unfair to men, government changed the law. The new Social Assistance Amendment Act came into force earlier this year. In line with this law, men can now get the old-age pension from the age of 63. The qualifying age will be lowered by one year over a period of three years until men qualify in line with women at the age of 60. This means that by 2010 both women and men will get old-age pension at the age of 60.