Applying for a social welfare grant

A social grant refers to grants paid by government to South African citizens who are in need of assistance. In South-Africa, social grants are administered by the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA).  elderly couple applying for a grant

Social grants are in place to help improve standards of living in society and are given to people who are vulnerable to poverty and in need of state support. These generally include older people, people with disabilities, and people with young children. 

All applicants for social grants must be South African citizens, permanent residents or refugees (official refugee status granted by the South African Government must be provided) and candidates must be living in South Africa.


What is a means test?

Some social grants, such as old age pension, social relief of distress grant, disability grant, care dependency grant and the child support grant is subject to "means test". The aim of the means test is to determine if you're eligable to apply for a social grant, SASSA will evaluate your income and assets in order to determine whether you qualify to apply. The means test is simply a way of determining whether you qualify to receive a grant that's meant for those who have insufficient means to support themselves. 

This is an overview of our social grant system and how to apply for social assistance. 


Care dependency grant

Care dependency grant offers help to full-time caregivers of a child / children with disabilities. 

What is the monetary amount of this grant?

R1 600 per child, per month.

How do you know if you qualify for the grant?

In order to qualify for the care dependency grant, the child must be found permanently disabled by a medical officer and must be under the age of 18. 
If you're married, you and your spouse must meet the minimum qualifying requirements of the means test.

Here's a list of the other important qualifying requirements you need to meet. 


Child support grant

To receive this grant you must be the primary caregiver of a child. The child must be under the age of 18 years old and must live in South Africa.

What is the monetary amount of this grant?

R380 per month per child.

How do you know if you qualify for this grant?

Biological parents or caregivers can apply for a child support grant. If you're not the biological parent of the child, you'll have to provide proof that you're the primary caregiver. 

If you're married, you and your spouse must meet the requirements of a means test to qualify. Have a look at the other important qualifying requirements here. 


Disability grant 

The disability grant is available on a permanent or temporary basis for between 6 and 12 months. When your temporary grant expires and you have not fully recovered to return to work, you'll need to apply for the grant again. If you're receiving other grants, you can't receive a disability grant.

What is the monetary amount of this grant?

R1 600 per month.

How do you know if you qualify for the grant?

Applicants must be between the ages of 18 and 59 years old. When applying, you'll need to submit a medical assessment or report confirming the disability not older than 3 months at the date of application. 

If you're married, your spouse must comply with a means test

Find out more about the other important qualifying requirements you need to meet. 


Foster child grant 

If you're taking care of a foster child and need financial assistance, you can apply for a foster child grant. Here's a list of the other important qualifying requirements you need to meet. 

What is the monetary amount of this grant?

R920 a month per child. 

How do you know if you qualify for the grant?

To qualify for a foster child grant, you and the child you're taking care of must live in South Africa. When applying, you must provide a court order indicating foster care status as well as a birth certificate of the child. 

The child must be 18 years or younger. 

Find out more about the other important qualifying requirements you need to meet. 


Grants for older persons (old age pension)

What is the monetary amount of this grant?

Pensioners over 60 years of age will get R1 600 and those over 75 years of age will get R1 620.

How do you know if you qualify for this grant?

In order to qualify for this grant, you must be 60 years of age or older, however, you can't receive an old age pension if you're in a state institution, such as a care facility. If you're already receiving another grant you'll not qualify for an old age pension. 

If you're married, your spouse must comply with a means test. Here's a list of the specific qualifying requirements


Grant in aid 

This is an extra grant for people already receiving a disability, older persons grant or war veterans grant. Individuals who are diagnosed with mental or physical impairments and is unable to look after the,selves and need money to pay a full-time caregiver.

What is the monetary amount of this grant

R380 per person.

How do you know if you qualify for this grant?

If you're receiving a social grant but unable to look after yourself, you can apply for a grant in aid. 

Have a look at the specific qualifying requirements


Social relief of distress grant

This grant is a temporary grant that's paid for a maximum of 3 months to people in desperate need of financial assistance. The amount of the social relief of distress grant is subject to a means test

What is the monetary amount of this grant?

The amount will vary and is determined by the result of the means test. 

How do you know if you qualify for the grant?

You qualify for a social relief of distress grant if the breadwinner of your household has been found medically unfit to work fir less than 6 months or if the breadwinner of the household has been admitted to a private institution for a least 1 month. 

You may also qualify if you've been affected by a disaster, but the area or community you live in has not been declared a disaster area. 

Here's a list of other important qualifying requirements


War veterans grant

The war veterans grant is made available for persons who fought in World War l, World War ll or the Korean War. 

What is the monetary amount iof this grant?

Up to R1 600. The amount will vary and is determined by the result of the means test

How do you know if you qualify for the grant?

To qualify for this grant, you must be over the age of 60 years old or disabled. You can't be a recipient of other grants or be cared for in a state institution.

Here's a list of other important qualifying requirements you need to meet before applying. 


To apply for any one of these grants visit your nearest South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) office or contact them on 0800 6010 11 for more information.

The content on this page was last updated on 19 April 2017