The Social Assistance Act of 2004 and regulations to the act provide the legal framework for the administration of seven social grants. Grants are targeted at categories of people who are vulnerable to poverty and in need of state support. These are older people, people with disabilities and children. Also, the Social Relief of Distress award provides immediate temporary assistance to people in dire need of financial support and is given to people in the form of vouchers, food parcels or money for a three month period.
Grants available include:
- Child Support Grant
- Older Person’s Grant
- Disability Grant
- Care Dependency Grant
- War Veteran’s Grant
- Foster Child Grant
Applicants for social grants must be South African citizens, permanent residents or refugees and currently living in South Africa.
Except for the Foster Child Grant and the Grant in Aid, social grants in South Africa are currently “means tested”. The means test is the process of assessing the value of your assets and income. You will only be eligible for a grant if your income and assets fall below a certain threshold. This threshold is different for all the grants and will depend on whether or not you are married. The amount you receive for your Old Age Grant and the Disability Grant is also determined by the means test and you may not necessarily receive the maximum amount offered by SASSA.
If you do some work or have another source of income but still really need social assistance you can still apply for a grant. You must declare all your income and assets to SASSA. If you receive the disability grant, old-age grant or war veterans grant your monthly money will be reduced according to how much money you earn.
If you are admitted to a state institution for an extended period of time, the value of your Old Age Grant, Disability Grant or War Veteran’s Grant will be reduced to 25% of its value from the 4th month following your admission until you are discharged.