Applying for a social grant

Where can you apply?

You can apply at the nearest SASSA local or counter service point of a district office in your area.

When can you apply?

You can apply from Monday to Friday but some service points are only open on certain days of the week or month.

*Check with your local counter service point for opening times.

What can you use for proof of identity?

Proof of identity, South African citizenship and age:


  • A  South African 13-digit bar-coded identity book (ID),


  • A temporary South African identity document from the Department of Home Affairs.
  • As a refugee, you should have a refugee identity document OR a refugee status permit together with proof of having applied for an identity document from the Department of Home Affairs.
  • Where adults act on behalf of others in applying for or receiving a grant (i.e. are ‘procurators’) they need identity documents of any country, or a passport, or a driver’s licence.


  • As a South African citizen, they should have a birth certificate with a 13-digit identity number which was issued free of charge immediately after the registration of their birth at any Home Affairs service point.
  • As a South African citizen over 16 years old, they should have a South African 13 digit bar-coded identity document.
  • As a permanent resident, they should have a birth certificate OR a South African 13-digit bar-coded identity document if they are over 16.
  • As a ‘documented’ or ‘undocumented’ foreign national child, they should have a birth certificate, identity document or passport from their country of origin. If you do not have these, their biological or foster parent or primary caregiver should make an affidavit and apply for a birth certificate at the Department of Home Affairs.

Make sure you obtain a receipt of the application.

Alternative identification documents

Section 11(1) of the 2008 Regulations of the Social Assistance Act of 2004 says that SASSA may accept alternative proof of identification where the person currently has no valid proof (an identity document or a birth certificate).

Alternative proof could include

  • A sworn statement (an affidavit) on a form provided by SASSA, and, where available
  • Proof of having applied for formal identity documentation from the Department of Home Affairs.

These could also be supported by

  • A sworn statement by a reputable person (like a councillor, traditional leader, social worker, priest, school principal) who verifies that he/she knows the person, and/or
  • Other documents like baptismal certificates, school reports, clinic cards, etc.

Ideally alternative identification should only be used as a temporary measure.

While it has not been regulated, SASSA requires that grant beneficiaries apply to the Department of Home Affairs within three months for their proper documents.

Once the person provides proof of having applied for their documents, the grant will continue to be paid until the beneficiary receives their identity documents and returns to the SASSA office to update their records.

However, if they do not apply for these documents and do not return to SASSA to confirm that this has been done within the three month period, payment of their grant may be suspended.

How do you apply for a grant?

There are three stages in the process of applying for a grant:

  1. Application process: Filling in the application forms, taking fingerprints, interview with SASSA officer (2 hours).
  2. Notification process: Letter of approval or rejection (less than 3 months).
  3. Appeals process: Appeals of the decision (within 90 days of receiving a letter of rejection).

Stage 1: Application process

The application for the social assistance grants is free and should not take longer than 2 hours. This has to be done at a SASSA office.

You must take all your proof to the nearest SASSA District office or counter service point. Some of the forms that you are required to complete will be given to you and you will need to have these correctly filled in.

You will first have to fill in an application form in the presence of a SASSA officer.

After this there will be an interview, fingerprints will be taken, and then you must present information to prove your means (income and assets) to see if you qualify under the means test.

The documents will be verified by another SASSA officer. All information that you provide during the application process will need to be signed by you as being true and correct. When the application is made, you should say how you would like the money to be paid.

In addition, if you are applying for a Disability Grant, the following steps will be taken:

  • The SASSA officer will send you to a state medical doctor or a doctor contracted by SASSA for a medical examination to assess your disability. You should show all medical records, even old records from another doctor or hospital to the doctor.
  • You must take the doctor’s certificate or assessment panel’s report back to the SASSA officer.Please check the correct procedure with your SASSA office. In some cases when the application process is completed, you will get a receipt and a copy of the completed application form. This receipt is the only proof of application that you have and should therefore be kept safe. Check that the following is on the receipt: date of application, official stamp, name of applicant, and name of SASSA officer. However, in other places SASSA will collect the form and it will not be given to you.
  • Please note that the medical assessment is free of charge for the applicant.

Stage 2: Notification process

It will take about 30 working days for your application to be processed and checked and either approved or refused.

If your application is approved it must be dated and in the language that you prefer.

If the application is approved, you should start getting payments within 3 months. Payments will be backdated to the day you applied for the grant. 

If the application is rejected, the rejection must be made in writing in the language that you prefer and it must advise you on your right to appeal and the process to follow.

Stage 3: Appeals process

If the application is rejected, a letter of appeal can be written to the Minister of Social Development explaining why you do not agree with the decision. This appeal must be sent (lodged) within 90 days of receiving the letter of rejection.

The Minister reviews the appeal and may decide to overturn the decision of rejection or may agree with the first assessment.

The Minister may also appoint an independent tribunal which has to deal with the matter within 30 days. If the matter has been referred to a tribunal, you must be given a chance to address the tribunal. The Minister must inform you, within 30 days of the finalisation of the tribunal process, of the tribunal’s conclusion.

Can another person make the application on behalf of an applicant?

If the applicant cannot be made by the caregiver or beneficiary because they are too old or sick, a friend or family member can bring a letter from them and a doctor’s note saying why the primary caregiver cannot visit the office themselves.

A home visit may then be arranged. The Agency can also appoint a Procurator for this person.

Remember you can also apply for a Grant-in-Aid at the same time as you apply for an Older Person’s Grant, Disability Grant or War Veteran’s Grant if you cannot look after yourself and need full-time care.

A husband and wife can claim separate grants. If one of the spouses already receives an adult grant, then that grant must not be counted as income when you apply for a grant. If either of the spouses already gets a grant, then that grant must not be counted as income when the other spouse applies for a grant.

*Information obtained courtesy – Black Sash

Social grants – Coronavirus COVID-19

Social Relief of Distress grants

Applications for the R350 SASSA Social Relief of Distress grants:

Applicant’s Criteria: 

  • Above the age of 18; 
  • Unemployed; 
  • Not receiving any income; 
  • Not receiving any social grant; 
  • Not receiving any unemployment insurance benefit and does not qualify to receive unemployment insurance benefits; 
  • Not receiving a stipend from the National Student Financial Aid Scheme; and 
  • Not a resident in a government funded or subsidised institution.

Documents Required

Prospective applicants will need to provide the following compulsory information for processing of their applications:

  • Identity Number;
  • Name and Surname as captured in the ID (and initials);
  • Gender and Disability;
  • Banking details – Bank Name and Account Number;
  • Contact details – Cellphone number; and
  • Proof of Residential Address.

Application Process

An application for social relief of distress or a social grant may be lodged electronically over and above any other available means of lodging such applications.

The measures applicable include:

  • Sending a WhatsApp message to 0600 123 456 and selecting SASSA, or
  • Sending an email to 

Grant Breakdown

  • Child support grant beneficiaries will receive an extra R300 in May, and from June to October they will receive an additional R500 each month.
  • All other grant beneficiaries will receive an extra R250 per month for the next six months.
  • In addition, a special COVID-19 Social Relief of Distress grant of R350 a month for the next 6 months will be paid to individuals who are currently unemployed and do not receive any other form of social grant or UIF payment *.

Social grant payments at cash pay points procedure

  • SASSA will deploy at least one manager to each pay point to assist with queue management and to attend to enquiries – staff will have protective gear (masks and gloves) and carry hand sanitiser.
  • SAPO has committed to having hand sanitiser available for all clients – they will be sanitised just prior to joining a short queue for payment.
  • Access to pay points will be limited to control social distancing.
  • SAPO staff to be equipped with masks and gloves.
  • Security staff will be equipped with masks and gloves.
  • Postbank call centre (available 24/7) on 0800 53 54 55 to deal with concerns and complaints related to SASSA/SAPO cards – card replacement, PIN resets and non-payment.

SASSA Call Centre

  • The SASSA Call Centre (0800 60 10 11) will be available, although there may be reduced capacity.
  • The Call Centre is available during working hours only.

Grant amounts have increased as from 1 April 2020.

  • Grants for older persons and disability grants increase to R1 860.
  • Grants for war veterans and older persons older than 75 years increase to R1 880.
  • Foster child grants increase to R1 040 per child.
  • Care dependency grants increase to R1 860.
  • Child support grants increase to R440 per child.

Information from Copyright 2020 Government of South Africa.

* The Department of Social Development will issue the requirements needed to access and apply for this funding