A landmark unanimous judgement was handed down in the Constitutional Court on 20 April 2015, dealing with the deductibility of social assistance grants paid to children or their foster parents from loss of support claims against the Road Accident Fund arising from the death of a child’s parent(s) in a motor vehicle accident.

The Constitutional Court held that neither a child support grant nor a foster child grant was deductible from such a claim and rejected the Road Accident Fund’s argument that not deducting such grants would amount to double compensation. Although the case before the Constitutional Court related only to the deductibility of foster child grants, the Court accepted the parties’ invitation to consider the judgement of the Supreme Court of Appeal in the matter of Road Accident Fund v Timis [2010] ZASCA 30 where the SCA had held that child support grants paid “as a result of the breadwinner’s death” were indeed deductible from loss of support claims in these circumstances as not doing so would amount to “double recovery…at the expense of the taxpayer (which was) incapable of justification…”.

The Constitutional Court rejected this reasoning by the SCA as being unsustainable and held that the outcome of the Timis matter was incorrect.
The question of the deductibility of such benefits has now been authoritatively answered and the judgement of the Constitutional Court is to be welcomed.