Answer to a question from a reader

Will withdrawing my provident fund affect my disability grant income?

The short answer

It depends whether your monthly provident fund withdrawals put you over the maximum allowed income to qualify for the disability grant.

The long answer

The law says that if you are a member of a provident fund and you leave your work due to ill health or disability, you are entitled to receive a retirement benefit. Your disability benefit is therefore treated as a retirement benefit. 

After 1 March 2021, the rules changed for provident funds: as a result, it is no longer possible for provident fund members to take their entire disability benefit as a lump sum, and a portion of it may have to be used to pay you a monthly income. One third of it could be paid out as a lump sum and the remaining two thirds could be paid out monthly.

But if the total value of your fund is less than R247,500, you will be able to take out the whole amount as a cash lump sum.

If you are receiving a temporary disability grant from SASSA, this means your disability will last for a continuous period of six months and not longer than 12 months. A permanent disability grant means your disability will continue for more than a year, and then you have to renew your application. 

In either case, you would have to meet the SASSA means test requirements, which in April 2024, are that you cannot be earning more than R8,070 per month and R9,840 per year if you are single. If you are married, it is R16 140 per month and R193,680 a year.  

A single person should not own assets valued at more than R1,372,800, and the combined assets of a married person with their spouse should not be worth more than R2,745,600.

You are required to declare all your assets and income to SASSA, whether it’s from investments, rentals or a private pension or provident fund. If you receive a regular income above the amounts quoted above, you will not qualify for the disability grant. 

You could also get advice from an organisation like the Black Sash which gives free paralegal advice and has a lot of experience with SASSA.

These are their contact details: 


Helpline: 072 66 33 73, 072 633 3739 or 063 610 1865.

Wishing you the best,

Answered on June 21, 2024, 4:06 p.m.

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Please note. We are not lawyers or financial advisors. We do our best to make the answers accurate, but we cannot accept any legal liability if there are errors.