The South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) supports the country’s most vulnerable populations. SASSA offers a variety of social grants designed to provide financial assistance to those in need. This article will explore these grants in detail, the eligibility criteria, and how you can apply for them.
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Who Can Apply for SASSA Social Grants?
Social grants are available to South African citizens, permanent residents, and refugees currently living in South Africa. Applicants for these grants, except the Foster Child Grant and the Grant in Aid, must meet certain income and asset thresholds, as determined through a means test.
Available Grants and Their Details
- Child Support Grant: As of April 2022, the value of the Child Support Grant is R480 per month. This grant is provided to the primary caregiver of a child under the age of 18 living with them in South Africa. Specific income requirements must be met to qualify.
- Care Dependency Grant: This grant, valued at R1,980 per month from April 2022 and R1,990 from October 2022, is given to caregivers of children with disabilities. The child must be found permanently and severely medically disabled by a medical officer and must be under the age of 18.
- Foster Child Grant: The Foster Child Grant is R1,070 per month from April 2022 and is granted to the designated foster carer of a child under 18.
- Disability Grant: The maximum value of the Disability Grant is R1,980 per month from April 2022 and R1,990 from October 2022. This grant is available to individuals between 18 and 59 years who have been medically determined to be unfit for work due to a mental or physical disability.
- Grant-in-Aid: The Grant-in-Aid, valued at R480 per month from April 2022, is an additional grant for individuals receiving disability, older persons, or war veteran’s grants who require full-time care due to mental or physical disabilities.
- Older Person’s Grant (Old Age Pension): This grant, valued at R1,980 per month from April 2022 and R1,990 from October 2022, is available to individuals aged 60 or older.
- War Veteran’s Grant: This grant, with a maximum value of R1,980 per month from April 2022 and R1,990 from October 2022, is available to individuals who fought in World War I, World War II, or the Korean War, who are either over the age of 60 or disabled.
- Social Relief of Distress: This temporary assistance is available for individuals in specific crises or disasters.
- Covid-19 Social Relief of Distress: This temporary grant pays R350 per month and is available to individuals meeting specific criteria, primarily centered around the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Child Support Grant
The Child Support Grant (CSG) is a financial assistance program the South African government initiated. It provides a monthly aid of R480 (as of April 2022) to the primary caregiver of a child residing in South Africa.
The grant is intended for children under 18 who are not cared for in a state institution. A crucial stipulation is that a primary caregiver may not apply for more than six non-biological or legally adopted children.
The primary caregiver, who need not be the child’s biological parent, must provide proof of their caregiver status. This can be established through various documents such as a police affidavit, a report from a social worker, an affidavit from the child’s biological parent, or a letter from the school principal.
A means test determines eligibility for the Child Support Grant. For single applicants, the income must be R55,200 per annum (R4,600 per month). For married applicants, the combined income must be R110,400 (R9,200) per annum. This ensures that the grant is distributed to those who need it the most, aiding in mitigating child poverty in South Africa.
Care Dependency Grant
As of April 2022, the Care Dependency Grant provides a monthly aid of R1,980, increasing to R1,990 from October 2022. This grant is tailored to caregivers of children with disabilities.
For a child to qualify, a medical officer must permanently and severely classify them as disabled. Furthermore, the child must be under 18 years old and should not be cared for in a state institution.
Eligibility for the Care Dependency Grant is based on a means test. Single applicants must earn R226,800 per year (R18,900 per month), while married applicants’ combined household income should be R453,600 per year (R37,800 per month).
Foster Child Grant
The Foster Child Grant, valued at R1,070 monthly from April 2022, is available for foster parents living in South Africa. The child in foster care must also live in South Africa, be under 18 years old, and a court order must designate the applicant as the foster carer for the child.
Interestingly, there is no means test for foster parents. The only requirement is that the child remains in the foster parent’s care.
The Disability Grant provides financial assistance of up to R1,980 monthly from April 2022 and R1,990 from October 2022. This grant is available for individuals between 18 and 59 years who are medically determined to be unfit for work due to a mental or physical disability.
This grant can be provided permanently or temporarily, lasting between six and twelve months. If a recipient’s temporary grant expires and they haven’t recovered sufficiently to return to work, they must apply for the grant again. Periodic reviews can also be conducted for those on the permanent grant to assess eligibility.
Regarding eligibility, grant recipients can only receive other grants, and they can be cared for in a state institution. A means test also applies: a single individual’s income cannot exceed R87,720 per year (R7,310 per month), and their assets cannot be worth more than R1,247,400. Married individuals’ combined income cannot exceed R175,440 (R14,620 per month), and connected assets must not be worth more than R2,494,800.
The Grant-in-Aid, valued at R480 per month from April 2022, is an essential support for individuals already receiving disability, older persons, or war veteran grants who cannot care for themselves due to mental or physical disabilities. This additional grant is intended to cover the expenses of a full-time caregiver.
To be eligible for the Grant-in-Aid, applicants must undergo a medical assessment conducted by a medical officer. However, individuals cared for in a state institution do not qualify for this grant.
Older Person’s Grant (Old Age Pension)
The Older Person’s Grant, with a maximum value of R1,980 per month from April 2022, increasing to R1,990 from October 2022, offers vital financial assistance to South Africans aged 60 years or older. Those over 75 receive a slightly higher amount, R2,000 per month from April 2022 and R2,010 from October 2022.
To apply for this grant, one must not receive other grants, and one must not be under the care of a state institution. Eligibility is determined by a means test, with the maximum income for single individuals capped at R87,720 per year (R7,310 per month) and total assets not exceeding R1,247,400. For married applicants, the combined income must be R175,440 (R14,620 per month), and combined assets should be R2,494,800.
War Veteran’s Grant
The War Veteran’s Grant supports those who bravely served their country during World War I, World War II, or the Korean War. To qualify, applicants must be over the age of 60 or disabled.
Like other grants, individuals cannot be recipients of other grants and must not be cared for in a state institution. The means test applies, with the maximum income for single applicants limited to R87,720 per year (R7,310 per month) and assets not exceeding R1,247,400. For married applicants, the combined income must be R175,440 (R14,620 per month), and combined assets should be R2,494,800.
Social Relief of Distress
The Social Relief of Distress is a temporary assistance program implemented by the South African government. This program steps in to provide help in several emergencies, such as:
- Waiting for your children’s grants to be processed
- Experiencing a crisis or disaster, for example, if your house has burnt down
- Failing to qualify for a grant but finding yourself in a desperate situation
- Becoming disabled for less than six months, thus making you ineligible for a disability grant
- Being unable to obtain maintenance from the other parent of your child or children
- Experiencing the death of the family’s breadwinner
- Having the family’s breadwinner sent to prison for less than six months
- Being affected by a disaster but living in an area or community not officially declared a disaster area.
This relief is issued monthly for a maximum of three months, with an extension of another three months potentially granted under exceptional circumstances. Note that you cannot apply for this relief if you already receive a different grant.
Covid-19 Social Relief of Distress
The Covid-19 Social Relief of Distress grant, providing R350 per month, was established in response to the financial difficulties caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. This temporary relief has been extended until March 2023.
Eligibility criteria for the Covid-19 SRD grant include:
- Being a South African citizen, permanent resident, or registered refugee with Home Affairs
- Being above 18 years old
- Being unemployed
- Not receiving any income
- Not receiving any social grant, except Child Support Grants
- Not receiving any UIF benefit and not qualifying to receive any UIF benefit
- Not staying in a government-funded institution
To apply for this grant, applicants must provide their ID number, name, surname as in the ID, gender and any disability, banking details, contact details, and proof of residential address.
Applications can be made electronically through various channels, including WhatsApp, USSD, email, call center IVR, and SASSA’s website. SASSA will only request banking details after the application has been approved, and applicants should never disclose their PIN.
How to Apply
To apply for any of these grants, visit the nearest SASSA office. A friend or family member may apply if you cannot use it in person due to age or health reasons. You may also arrange a home visit, although there may be a wait. If your application is successful, you will receive a SASSA card and a bank account where your grant will be deposited monthly.
The application process can take up to 90 days, and your first payment will include back pay for the time you wait to receive the grant. This back-pay is calculated from the first day of application.
SASSA social grants offer a lifeline to South Africa’s most vulnerable citizens. These grants are designed to provide financial assistance to those who need it most, enabling them to improve their quality of life. If you or a loved one could benefit from these grants, do not hesitate to contact SASSA or visit their website for more information.
For more details, contact SASSA on their hotline at 0800 601 011 or visit the SASSA website.