Social Relief of Distress

Social relief of distress is a temporary provision of assistance intended for persons in such dire material need that they are unable to meet their or their families' most basic needs.

Social Relief of Distress is paid to South African citizens or permanent residents, who have insufficient means and meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • the applicant is awaiting payment of an approved social grant;
  • the applicant has been found medically unfit to undertake remunerative work for a period of less than 6 months;
  • no maintenance is received from parent, child or spouse obliged in law to pay maintenance, and proof is furnished that efforts made to obtain maintenance have been unsuccessful;
  • the bread winner is deceased and application is made within three months of the date of death;
  • the bread winner of that person`s family has been admitted to an institution funded by the state (prison, psychiatric hospital, state home for older persons, treatment centre for substance abuse or child and youth care centre)
  • the applicant has been affected by a disaster as defines in the Disaster Management Act or the Fund Raising Act, 1978
  • the person is not receiving assistance from any other organization or
  • refusal of the application for social relief of distress will cause undue hardships.


Period of Social Relief of Distress (New Policy)

Social Relief of Distress is issued monthly forĀ a maximum period of 3 months. An extension a further 3 months may be granted in exceptional cases.

Note: No person who is in receipt of social grant may receive the grant and social relief of distress simultaneously. Any person who receive both social relief and grant at the same time must repay the value of the social relief of distress received. This will be recovered from any social grant payment, including an arrear payment. However, where the person who is in receipt of a social grant received social relief of distress as a result of a disaster, that amount will not be recovered.

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