Sassa Social Grants & Financial Assistance

Social grants are administered by the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA). They are mandated by the South African Social Security Agency Act of 2004 to “ensure the provision of comprehensive social security services against vulnerability and poverty within the constitutional legislative framework”. In South Africa, providing income support to poor households have a long history. More than 17 million citizens, almost one-third of the population, receive a cash transfer from the state each month (South African Social Security Agency, 2019).


The largest social grant programs are the Child Support Grant (CSG), the Old Age Pension (OAP), and the Disability Grant. All target low-income households. In April 2020, to mitigate the economic shock of a national lockdown designed to curb the spread of COVID-19, the government introduced a R500 billion ($28 billion) fiscal support package that includes a six-month increase.


The aim of the means test is to determine if you’re eligible to apply for a social grant, agency will evaluate your income and assets in order to determine whether you qualify to apply. The means test is simply a way of determining whether you qualify to receive a grant that’s meant for those who have insufficient means to support themselves.

Some of them, such as old age pension, social relief of distress grant, disability grant, care dependency grant and the child support grant is subject to a “means test”. This is an overview of our social grant system and how to apply for social assistance.


Financing your Study: There are a number of funding options available to South African Students: Bursary is a monetary award that is granted on the basis of financial need and good performance. The recepient either does not have to repay the bursary or will pay by working for the sponsoring company for the number of years for which he/she received the bursary.

Scholarships are merit-based and are awarded for academic achievement.

Study loan is the money that you borrow to cover the costs associated with your
tertiary studies and needs to be repaid. A loan should only be given out by a
registered financial institution.
National Student Financial Aid Scheme of South Africa (NSFAS)
The National Student Financial Aid Scheme of South Africa (NSFAS) is providing
financial aid in terms of study loans and bursaries to financially needy and
academically deserving South African students to further their education at public
FET colleges and universities/universities of technology. It supports those who do
not have financial means to fund their studies and/or cannot access bank funding,
study loans or bursaries.

NSFAS loan does not cover registration fees except for students who qualify for full
NSFAS awards (typically where the EFC / Expected Family Contribution is zero or close to zero).

Facts about NSFAS loans
The NSFAS loan attracts low interest rate which is lower than that of bank loans as it is subsidized by donations from government, private companies and overseas donors.
The interest rate is generally equal to the rate of inflation plus 2%. The 2% contributes towards the administration costs and any shortfalls, which allows
NSFAS to continue helping students. Currently it is at 5.2%.

The NSFAS loan will be repaid once the student starts earning a salary, if she/he is unemployed, a written proof in the form of an affidavit should be provided to the NSFAS head office. A telephone call will not be considered. Depending on the student’s academic results, portions of the loan can be converted to a bursary.

There are no guarantees or sureties when applying for NSFAS loans. What we we mean by guarantees or sureties? Anyone with a sound financial status can act as surety and that person. is normally responsible for the repayment of the student loan while the student is still studying.