The Complete Guide to SASSA Social Grants in South Africa

Social grants in South Africa provide a vital lifeline for millions of citizens facing challenging circumstances. Administered by the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA), these grants offer financial assistance and support to vulnerable groups including children, people with disabilities, and older adults.

In this guide will explore the different types of SASSA grants available, eligibility criteria, and their profound impact on individuals, families and communities across South Africa.

Introduction to SASSA Social Grants

Social grants are cash transfers provided by the government to individuals who are unable to financially support themselves and their dependents. These grants are a crucial part of South Africa’s social security system, meant to ensure citizens can meet their basic needs.

According to SASSA’s 2020/2021 annual report, over 18 million South Africans benefit from social grants, representing nearly 30% of the population. This makes the social grants system one of the largest in the world, demonstrating the government’s commitment to poverty alleviation and supporting vulnerable groups.

SASSA is the government agency tasked with administering and distributing social grants to eligible beneficiaries. They oversee grant applications, payments, and ensuring compliance with requirements. SASSA works to “administer social assistance responsibly, ethically and equitably” with the vision of building a caring society.

There are several types of SASSA grants available depending on an applicant’s circumstances. These include:

  • Old Age Grant
  • Disability Grant
  • Child Support Grant
  • Foster Child Grant
  • Care Dependency Grant
  • Grant-in-Aid
  • Social Relief of Distress Grant
  • War Veteran’s Grant

Each grant has eligibility criteria that must be met to qualify for monthly financial assistance. In this guide, we will provide an in-depth look at each grant, who they help, requirements, and the application process. Understanding social grants is crucial as they empower and uplift vulnerable South Africans.

Social Relief of Distress Grant

The Social Relief of Distress (SRD) grant was introduced in 2020 to provide temporary financial relief for individuals facing challenging situations. It assists those who have lost income due to retrenchment, business closure, or an inability to work and earn money to support themselves and their families.

According to SASSA statistics, nearly 7 million SRD grants were paid out between May 2020 to March 2021 to individuals impacted by COVID-19 job losses and income insecurity. This demonstrated the grant’s vital role as a social safety net in times of crisis.

Eligibility Criteria

To qualify for the SRD grant, applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Be a South African citizen, permanent resident or refugee with proof of status
  • Lack sufficient resources to provide for family’s basic needs
  • Unemployed and without income support from other grants/UIF
  • Not receiving financial support from employed spouse or family
  • Not maintained in state institution or funded NGO
  • Must disclose efforts to secure income

Applicants facing financial distress due to unemployment before the COVID-19 pandemic may also qualify if they meet the eligibility criteria.

The SRD grant is paid out at R350 per month for a maximum period of 3 months. The grant can be extended for an additional 3 months up to a total of 6 months. To apply, applicants complete Form 11 and submit supporting documents to their nearest SASSA office.

Care Dependency Grant

The Care Dependency Grant provides financial assistance to caregivers of severely disabled children who need full-time care and attention. This helps caregivers to meet the extraordinary costs of raising a child with severe mental or physical disabilities.

According to Stats SA, over 160,000 Care Dependency Grants were paid out in 2021 to relieve the financial burden on caregivers. This enables them to focus on providing proper care without compromise.

Eligibility Criteria

To qualify for the Care Dependency Grant, the following requirements must be met:

  • Child must be under 18 years old
  • Child has severe mental/physical disability confirmed by medical assessment
  • Child needs permanent home care due to disability
  • Applicant is child’s primary caregiver
  • Child is not cared for in state institution

Reassessment of the child’s disability is required after a certain period to confirm their continued eligibility for the grant.

The value of the Care Dependency Grant is R1,860 per month. Application forms are submitted online or at SASSA offices with a medical assessment report confirming the child’s permanent disability.

Child Support Grant

The Child Support Grant is paid to the primary caregivers of eligible children to help cover costs of food, clothing, shelter and other basic needs. This grant plays a major role in reducing child poverty and promoting child well-being.

SASSA statistics show nearly 12 million Child Support Grants were paid monthly in 2021 to ensure children’s care and development. The grant reaches over 75% of eligible children under the age of 18.

Eligibility Criteria

To qualify for the Child Support Grant, the following criteria must be met:

  • Child must be under 18 years old
  • Applicant is primary care giver of the child
  • South African citizen, permanent resident or refugee child
  • Child does not receive other social grants
  • Annual household income is below a set threshold
  • Child must not be cared for in state institution

The Child Support Grant is paid out at R480 per month. Primary caregivers including parents, foster parents, grandparents and aunts/uncles caring for a child can apply. Supporting documents like birth certificates, ID’s and proof of income are required.

Disability Grant

The Disability Grant provides financial help to people between 18 and 59 years old who are unfit to work due to physical or mental disability. This helps them to meet basic living expenses and improve quality of life.

According to the latest SASSA annual report, over 1 million Disability Grants are paid out monthly. These grants are a lifeline to both temporary and permanently disabled citizens unable to earn an income.

Eligibility Criteria

To qualify for the Disability Grant, applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • South African citizen, permanent resident or refugee
  • Between 18 and 59 years old
  • Medically assessed as temporarily or permanently disabled
  • Unfit to enter employment due to disability
  • Do not receive other social grants
  • Meet requirements ofmeans test

Applicants must submit a medical assessment confirming their disability prevents them from working and earning an income. The value of the Disability Grant is R1890 per month.

Foster Child Grant

The Foster Child Grant provides financial assistance to foster parents who have legally adopted children through the children’s court. This helps cover the costs of caring for the foster child.

Close to 500,000 Foster Care Grants were paid out in 2021 according to the latest SASSA annual report. This supports foster families to meet the needs of children requiring foster care.

Eligibility Criteria

To qualify for the Foster Child Grant, the following criteria must be met:

  • Child is legally placed in foster care
  • Foster parent has a court order granting custody
  • Child is under 18 years old
  • Foster parent is a South African citizen/permanent resident
  • Child does not receive other grants

Foster parents must provide a court order as proof of the foster care arrangement along with supporting documents when applying. The value of the Foster Child Grant is R1,050 per month.

Old Age Grant

The Old Age Grant, also known as the old age pension, provides financial assistance to men and women over the age of 60. This helps to cover basic living costs and ensures a life of dignity in old age.

According to the latest SASSA annual report, over 3.7 million Old Age Grants are paid out monthly. These pensions are a lifeline for millions of elderly citizens helping them to meet their daily needs.

Eligibility Criteria

To qualify for the Old Age Grant, applicants must:

  • Be 60 years or older
  • Be a South African citizen, permanent resident or refugee
  • Live in South Africa
  • Have limited financial means
  • Not be maintained in a state institution

Income from other sources is taken into account during application. The value of the Old Age Grant ranges from R1,980 to R2,100 per month based on the applicant’s circumstances.


The Grant-in-Aid provides additional financial assistance to Old Age, Disability and War Veteran Grantees who require regular attendance by another person. This helps cover the costs of a carer.

According to the latest SASSA annual report, over 150,000 Grant-in-Aid allowances are paid out monthly. This supplements the disability grants for recipients who need permanent care due to inability to complete daily tasks independently.

Eligibility Criteria

To qualify for the Grant-in-Aid, the following criteria must be met:

  • Already receiving Old Age, Disability or War Veteran’s Grant
  • Require full-time care and attendance of another person
  • Suffer from physical or mental disabilities requiring assistance to complete daily tasks like dressing, bathing etc.

A doctor must confirm the beneficiary requires permanent care and attendance of another person. The value of the Grant-in-Aid is an additional R450 per month.

War Veteran’s Grant

The War Veteran’s Grant provides financial assistance to South African citizens who served in World War II or the Korean War. This recognizes their service and contribution to the country.

According to the latest SASSA annual report, just over 6,000 War Veteran’s Grants are paid out to remaining war veterans and their spouses. This provides support in their old age.

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for the War Veteran’s Grant, the following criteria must be met:

  • Be over 60 years old or disabled
  • Have fought in World War II or Korean War
  • Be a South African citizen
  • Do not receive another grant for adults
  • Meet health requirements
  • Meet income-based criteria

Applicants must provide documentation proving military service. The value of the War Veteran’s Grant is R1,980 per month.

Application Process for SASSA Grants

The application process for social grants involves submitting the required application forms, supporting documents and undergoing assessment to determine eligibility.

Here are the general steps to apply for SASSA grants:

  1. Determine which grant you may qualify for based on eligibility criteria.
  2. Obtain the appropriate application form for that grant. Forms are available online or at SASSA offices.
  3. Complete the application form with all required personal details, financial information and reasons for applying.
  4. Gather supporting documents such as ID copies, birth certificates, refugee status, proof of income/pension, medical assessments etc.
  5. Submit your application form and supporting docs to your nearest SASSA office.
  6. Application is assessed by SASSA officials to determine eligibility. Additional info may be requested.
  7. If approved, First payment received within 90 days of approval. Grant is paid monthly to Sassa card/account.
  8. Provide life certificates confirming status every 6 months.

Re-apply for temporary grants once they expire. Permanent grants continue with bi-annual life certificates.

Impact of SASSA Social Grants

Social grants play a massive role in supporting vulnerable South Africans, reducing poverty and inequality. Here are some of the profound impacts:

Poverty Alleviation – lifts over 5.5 million South Africans above the food poverty line. Grants make up more than 50% of income for the poorest 20% of the population.

Supporting Children – Child Support Grant linked to improved health, nutrition and school attendance. Decreases risk of hunger, stunting and malnutrition if received early in life.

Food Security – Households receiving grants more likely to be food secure compared to non-recipients. Grants enable access to sufficient food.

Inequality Reduction – Helps narrow the gap between the richest and poorest in South Africa. Significant impact on reducing income inequality.

Local Economic Growth – Grant expenditure boosts local economies, with significant multiplier effects in rural areas and small towns. Spent on food, clothing, transport etc.

Healthcare Access – Grant recipients more likely to access healthcare services for themselves and children due to income provision. Enhanced affordability of health services.

Disability Rights – Provides income and autonomy to people with disabilities. Greater inclusion and participation of disabled people in society.

Financial Inclusion – Grant system brings marginalized groups into the financial sector. Recipients gain access to formal bank accounts, credit and savings.

The impressive reach of social grants demonstrates South Africa’s commitment to protecting the poor and vulnerable. While the system is not perfect, grants undeniably transform lives, giving people dignity, choice and economic participation. This system empowers millions to build better futures for themselves, their families and communities.


SASSA’s social grants provide an essential safety net and lifeline for low-income households struggling to make ends meet. While the qualifying criteria must be strict to ensure only the truly needy benefit, the grants succeed in reaching millions of vulnerable South Africans.

Whether providing pensioners with dignity in old age, enabling the disabled to participate in society or keeping children nourished and in school, each grant carries enormous value.

The grants journey with beneficiaries through life’s difficulties, lifting them out of abject poverty and empowering them to reach their full potential. Despite some challenges, South Africa’s social grants stand as a global model for impactful social welfare policy that makes a tangible difference.

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