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22-Dec-2016 20:02

: Social protection grants play a critical role in survival and livelihoods of elderly individuals in South Africa.

Rarely is it possible to assess how well a social program reaches its target population.

While wealthier individuals may have private or other resources and thus not receive the state-funded pension, the poorest individuals and those with disabilities or limited physical functioning may need additional support to overcome application and access barriers to this resource.

We address these issues through the following questions: While private and employment-based pension programs exist in South Africa for those who have had formal employment, for nearly three-quarters of South Africans, the means-tested non-contributory government sponsored old-age grant is the main source of income over age 60 [15].

This pension program was established in 1928 to benefit the white and colored populations.

It was modestly expanded to the black population in 1944 [16].

It is possible that not all persons aged 60 and above in Agincourt meet the other eligibility requirements; in fact, there may be a small proportion of those in the highest socio-economic status category who are ineligible.

However, from our knowledge of the population in this site, we are confident that those who would be ineligible for economic reasons are limited [2,8,14].

Since we are not able to definitively differentiate between coverage—the number of persons formally covered by pension— up-take—the proportion of eligible persons actually receiving benefits, we focus on age-eligibility to determine the denominator in our assessment of up-take.Pension non-recipients tend to be male, have poor socio-economic status, live in smaller households, be of Mozambican origin, and have poorer physical function; while older persons living in households receiving other grants are more likely to report pension receipt.We conclude that a reservoir of older persons exists who meet eligibility criteria but who are not yet receiving pensions.Using a 2010 survey and Agincourt Health Demographic Surveillance System census data we conduct multivariate logistic regression to predict pension receipt in rural South Africa.We find only 80% of age-eligible individuals report pension receipt.

Since we are not able to definitively differentiate between coverage—the number of persons formally covered by pension— up-take—the proportion of eligible persons actually receiving benefits, we focus on age-eligibility to determine the denominator in our assessment of up-take.Pension non-recipients tend to be male, have poor socio-economic status, live in smaller households, be of Mozambican origin, and have poorer physical function; while older persons living in households receiving other grants are more likely to report pension receipt.We conclude that a reservoir of older persons exists who meet eligibility criteria but who are not yet receiving pensions.Using a 2010 survey and Agincourt Health Demographic Surveillance System census data we conduct multivariate logistic regression to predict pension receipt in rural South Africa.We find only 80% of age-eligible individuals report pension receipt.The old-age pension is the only grant targeted at the elderly population.