SASSA state pension

You might be shocked to see how a SASSA state pension compares to those offered overseas. Image: File/Fotor

How SASSA state pension compares to the rest of the world

Here’s how a SASSA state pension compares to similar welfare programs across the world. The results will shock you …

SASSA state pension

You might be shocked to see how a SASSA state pension compares to those offered overseas. Image: File/Fotor

A SASSA state pension as disbursed by the South African Social Security Agency to roughly 4-million needy citizens over the age of 60. It’s recently been announced that government old-age grants will increase by R100 in 2024. And you can click HERE for payment dates for the next year till March 2025.

TRENDING: MUST pensioners reapply for SASSA Old-Age Grants April 2024?

Nevertheless, as welcome as this increase is for the elderly, how does a SASSA state pension compare to similar welfare payouts across the world? Following President Ramaphosa’s State of the Nation statement about how proud he was of his party’s ‘pro-poor policies’, we wanted to know where South Africa actually ranks in a global context.


SASSA state pension
There are approximately 4-million people receiving a SASSA state pension in 2024. Image: File

We unearthed a research paper from the House of Commons Library in the UK, which compared various state pensions around the world. The findings are from 2022 and are therefore still representative of the situation globally.

MUST READ: GOOD news: These are your SASSA grant increases in April 2024

In the paper that compares SASSA state pension to the world, it does say the findings are, “Complicated by substantial differences in structure of pension systems across the world. Governments differ not only in reliance on state pension provision, but also on the structure, eligibility and financing basis for state pension,” qualifies the report.


SASSA state pension
Cost of living aside, a SASSA state pension is comfortably eight- to four-times below that of the European average. Image: File

Let’s first look at the amount paid by government for a state old-age pension. In South Africa, from April 2024 onwards, a SASSA Old-Age Pensions will pay R2 180 (60-years of age) and R2 200 (75-years of age). In the UK, a flat-rate state pension in 2022 was £185 per week – multiple that by four and you get £740, or R17 851 per month at the current exchange rate.

ALSO READ: Basic INFO: March 2024 SASSA Old-Age Grants

That represents a huge discrepancy versus a SASSA state pension: roughly eight-times less. Moreover, researchers say many UK pensioners supplement this income with access to a personal pension accrued from their working life, too.  

And that’s not even the highest pension listed in the research document:

  • Denmark: £1 440 per month (R34 742).
  • Ireland: £1 012 per month (R24 465).
  • Netherlands: £948 per month (R22 872).
  • United Kingdom: £740 per month (R17 852).
  • South Africa: £91 per month (R2 200).


SASSA state pension
Compared to Europe, a SASSA state pension falls on the far left of this scale. Image: File

Public social expenditure on state pension is another interesting differentiator between countries. Currently, in South Africa, 3.6% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is dedicated to SASSA state pension. Elsewhere, a selection of percentages (as of 2017) looks like this:

  • Greece 13%
  • France 11.9%
  • Japan 8.2%
  • Germany 8.0%
  • European average 6.5%
  • Netherlands 5.1%
  • United Kingdom 4.7%
  • Australia 3.9%
  • South Africa 3.6%
  • Israel 2.0%

What this quick snapshot says of SASSA state pension versus world, is that more can and should be done to support South Africa’s 4-million elderly. Of course, cost of living does differ massively in these countries, but for all its ‘pro-poor policies’, the National Treasury could effectively double its GDP-percentage spend on social welfare and still not meet the European average.

NEXT READ: UPDATED: Latest on old-age pension grants March 2024

What do you think of how a SASSA state pension compares to the rest of the world? Be sure to share your thoughts with our audience in the comments section below. And don’t forget to follow us @TheSANews on X and The South African on Facebook for the latest updates.