How to avoid red tape and frustrating delays when applying for a disability pension.
A step-by-step guide, by Trevor Baudach
Call the Johannesburg Disabilities Pension Office at (011) 498-5000, give them your address and ask at which branch you should apply. If they can’t give you a phone number, look it up yourself, call the number, cross-check if the information is correct, and obtain a physical address.
(The nature of the application process is such that if you discover by your second or third interview you’ve mistakenly applied to the incorrect branch, a lot lot of time and effort have been wasted.)
What you need
- Application Forms. You have to collect all forms in person. The Pension Office will not send forms to you by mail, neither will they hand forms over to anybody else you send on your behalf.
- Doctor’s Letter. To obtain application forms you require a doctor’s letter, which must state the nature and extent of your disability. A letter can be obtained from the registrars at the Clinic
- Take the letter and your ID document to the Pension Office in your area.
Have your ID document with you at all times.
It is not necessary to make an appointment.
Although the interview lasts only a few minutes, the waiting in queues can take all day. You may have to wait up to five hours.
The best time to arrive is between 10:00 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. By then the first wave is almost over and you stand a good chance of being interviewed before lunch.
The interviewer will explain everything you need to know, answer your questions, and provide you with two documents:
a) form for your doctor to fill in
b) fingerprint form, which must be processed on the premises.
What They Need from You
- Your ID document
- Affidavit of income
- Affidavit from person supporting you
- Your fingerprint form
- Medical application, filled in by a doctor
- Rent slip
- Water and lights account (plus a photocopy)
Important: If you are living rent-free with relatives who own the property, you have to provide proof that the property does not belong to you.
Important: Make sure your doctor places the appropriate departmental date stamp in the box provided, or you’ll be turned away.
Warning: If you have your affidavits notarised at a police station, double-check they don’t fob you off with the small SAP rubber stamp. It’s the big stamp with the fine print you need – the one that states: Commissioner of Oaths
Ensure all the paperwork is properly filled in. Depending on your particular circumstances and whether or not the Pensions Office requires additional information, you might have to make a third visit. Nothing will be gained by trying to speed up the process – so be patient!
If all goes well, your Attesting Officer will give you a slip, signed and stamped, with a phone number. After six or eight weeks you may call this number and enquire about your application’s progress.
A Word of Advice
Keep your answers simple and don’t go into detail. If your Attesting Officer wants to know something, he or she will ask. Be truthful. One falsehood, no matter how trivial, is enough to delay or jeopardise your application.
Locations of Pension Offices
3rd Floor, Newgate House, Eloff Street
Tel 011 498-5000
Hours: 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. weekdays
(Parking available in a parkade next door)
2nd Floor, SA Dutch Bldg, cnr. Kobie Krige & Human Street
Tel 953-4376/7/8 or 953-2020 for the switchboard
Hours 7:30 am to 3:30 pm weekdays