Answer to a question from a reader

What can I do if I can't get a SASSA grant because of my spouse's income but they don't look after me?

The short answer

You can call a family meeting or approach an organisation that helps families having marital problems.

The whole question

Dear Athalie

Why does SASSA count your spouse's income when you apply for the disability grant if your spouse doesn't help look after you with that income?

The long answer


As SASSA is a means-tested organisation, declaring your spouse’s income is a legal requirement, and if you failed to declare it, you could face legal consequences for misrepresentation and fraud, as well as having to pay it back. 

As there is nothing you can do about SASSA’s requirement to declare your spouse’s income, perhaps you should consider looking for help to get your spouse to meet your needs when you are ill. You could perhaps call a family meeting where senior family members can discuss your problem and perhaps they could influence your husband to give you the support you need when you are ill.

You could also approach an organisation like Families South Africa (FAMSA) which is a non-profit organisation that is mainly funded by the Department of Social Development. FAMSA’s website explains that “it was originally founded in 1954 as South African National Council for Marriage Guidance and Counselling to assist families having marital problems. Over the years, it changed its name to the Family and Marriage Society of South Africa and is now known as Families South Africa.”

FAMSA provides counselling services and social workers to help resolve family problems.

There are 28 registered FAMSA offices across South Africa, and each office has trained social workers whose main task is to assist families manage daily challenges that affect their social and economic functioning.

You can contact FAMSA National on 011 975 7106 or email

In Cape Town, the head office is in Observatory, at 9 Bowden Road. Tel: 021 447 7951

In Johannesburg, the head office is in Parkwood. Tel: 011 788 4784

For contact numbers and addresses of other FAMSA offices, you can contact FAMSA National (above).

Wishing you the best,

Answered on Dec. 1, 2022, 9:51 a.m.

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