Social grants assist a range of citizens

The South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) manages a range of social grants that are disbursed nationwide monthly.

There are certain requirements that grant applicants must meet though. A general requirement for all grant applicants is that they must be South Africans residing in the country. They must not be maintained or cared for at a state institution and must not be in receipt of another social grant when applying for a grant. If they have a spouse, this partner must meet the requirements of the Sassa means test which will determine whether they qualify for a social grant.

Below is a list of the various social grants, criteria and amounts that are paid monthly to beneficiaries.

Grant for older persons (R1140 monthly payment) Criteria: older persons applying for a grant must be 60 years or older.

War veteran’s grant (R1160 monthly payment) Criteria: applicants must be 60 years and older or disabled. Applicants must have fought in the Second World War or the Korean War.


Disability grant (R1140 monthly payment) Criteria: disabled persons applying for a grant must be 18 to 59 years old and they must submit a medical or assessment report confirming disability. This medical assessment must not be older than three months at the date of application.

Care dependency grant (R1140 monthly payment) Criteria: applicant and child must be resident in South Africa and the child must be from 18 years old. The applicant must submit a medical or assessment report confirming permanent, severe disability. The income of a foster parent will not be taken into consideration.

Foster child grant (R740 monthly payment) Criteria: a court order indicating foster care status. The foster parent must be a South African citizen, permanent resident or refugee. The child must remain in the care of the foster parent.

Child support grant (R260 monthly payment) Criteria: the primary care-giver must be a South African citizen or permanent resident. Both the applicant and the child must reside in South Africa. The applicant must be the primary care-giver of the child or children concerned. The child or children must have been born after December 31 1993. The applicant cannot apply for more than six non- biological children.

Grant-in-aid (R260 monthly payment) Criteria: this is linked to a main grant. The applicant must be in receipt of a grant for older persons, disability or war veterans. The applicant must require full-time attend- ce by another person owing to his or her physical or mental disabilities.

Social relief of distress grant (R240 to R1140 per month) Criteria: this is a temporary provision of assistance intended for persons in such dire need that they are unable to meet their or their families’ most basic needs. It is paid to South African citizens or permanent residents who have insufficient means and meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • the applicant is awaiting a permanent social grant;
  • the applicant has been found medically unfit to undertake remunerative work for a period of less than 6 months;
  • no maintenance is received from a parent, child or spouse obliged by law to pay maintenance, and proof is furnished that efforts made to obtain maintenance have been unsuccessful;
  • the breadwinner is deceased and application is made within three months of the date of death;
  • the breadwinner of that person’s family has been admitted to a institution funded by the state (prison, psychiatric hospital, state home for older persons, treatment centre for substance abuse or child and youth care centre)
  • the applicant has been affected by a disaster as defined in the Disaster Management Act of 2002
  • the person is not receiving assistance from any other organisation, or refusal of the application for social relief of distress will cause undue hardships.

The social relief of distress grant is issued monthly for a maximum of three months. An extension for a further three months may be granted in exceptional cases. No person who is in receipt of a social grant may receive the grant and social relief of distress simultaneously.

Any person who receives both social relief and a grant simultaneously must repay the value of the social relief of distress received. This will be recovered from subsequent grant payments.

This article originally appeared in the Mail & Guardian newspaper as a sponsored feature

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