Temporary Payment in a Crisis (Social Relief of Distress Award) | Western Cape Government

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Temporary Payment in a Crisis (Social Relief of Distress Award)


If you are unable to support your family's basic needs because of a crisis of a temporary nature, you can get a monthly payment for up to three months, called a social relief of distress award.


To qualify, you must not be getting money or any other form of help (such as food vouchers or food parcels) from any other organisation, and nor may anyone in your household already be receiving a grant. There are a number of situations which might qualify you for a social relief of distress award:

  • You have applied for a grant which has not yet been granted.
  • You have appealed against the suspension of your grant.
  • The person in your family who earns the money (the breadwinner) has just died, gone to prison, treatment centre or hospital.
  • You are supposed to be getting maintenance payments, but you are not getting them and you can't find the person who is supposed to pay.
  • You have been affected by a disaster (for example, fire, tornado, or flood) and the area in which you live has not yet been declared a disaster area.
  • You are medically unfit to work for less than six months (if for more than six months, you can apply for a disability grant

You must be a citizen of South Africa and living in South Africa at the time of applying for the grant. You must show that your financial situation is such that the family cannot meet its basic needs.

The amount of the social relief of distress grant is not allowed to be more than the maximum adult grant. The amount for each child is not allowed to be more than the child support grant . The grant is usually for three months only, but in exceptional cases can be extended for another three months. Money for transport can also be given to you, if the social worker recommends it, if:

  • You need transport for medical treatment and no other transport arrangements can be made.
  • You have to travel to a place where you will get a job and then no longer be dependent on this award or any other grant.

You can apply for social relief of distress award by filling in an application form at your nearest regional offices or counter service point of a Regional Office. You do not need to pay anything to make the application.


You will be interviewed, have your fingerprints taken, and given information on whether you qualify. You will also need to show certain documents and provide some information, including:

  • Your South African identity document (ID), which must be bar-coded, or your birth certificate, and the same for each child.
  • Information about your marital status:
    • If you are single, an affidavit stating that you are single.
    • If you are married, your marriage certificate.
    • If you are divorced, your divorce order.
    • If your spouse is dead, your spouse's death certificate.
  • Information about your income and assets:
    • If you are employed, your wage certificate.
    • If you are unemployed, your Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) 'blue book' or discharge certificate from your previous employer.
    • If you have a private pension, proof of the private pension.
    • If you have a bank account, your bank statements for three consecutive months.
    • If you have investments, information on the interest and dividends you earn.
  • Information supporting the reason for your crisis:
    • If your maintenance is not being paid, proof from the Magistrate's Court that maintenance has not been paid, and how you have looked for the person who is supposed to pay.
    • If you are temporarily disabled, a medical report.
    • If the breadwinner is no longer earning, record of their admission to prison, treatment centre or hospital.

When you make the application, you should say how you would like the money to be paid. The money can be paid out in cash on specific days at a Pay Point, or you can get the money paid electronically into your bank account. Remember that normal bank charges can apply to any money going in and out of your bank account. You can decide to change the payment method at any time by filling in a form at a Welfare office, but the change will only happen a month later.

It will take about 30 working days for your application to be processed and checked and either approved or refused. If your application is refused you will get a letter explaining why it has been refused and how you can appeal.

If it is approved you will start getting payments within three months. You can find out what has happened to your application and when you can expect payment by telephoning the free SASSA telephone number 0800 601 011.


National Department of Social Development

Department of Social Development (Provincial)
Free help line: 0800 220 250 for information in English, Afrikaans, isiXhosa and isiZulu on:

  • Pay-out dates.
  • Qualifying rules for all government grants.
  • District office addresses and contact numbers.
  • For help with what has happened to your application.
  • How you can also report any fraud or corruption.
Provided by:
Government Body: (Western Cape Government)
The content on this page was last updated on 26 September 2017