With unemployment currently sitting at a staggering 29%, South Africa finds itself in dire economic times. Making ends meet is getting tougher by the day. The South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) has started to provide some much needed relief. It is providing grocery vouchers to citizens through its ‘Social Relief of Distress’ programme.

This programme provides temporary assistance to people who are unable to meet their families’ most basic needs. The assistance can come in the form of a food parcel, cash, or a voucher to buy essentials, depending on which province you live in.

Social Relief of Distress is only issued monthly for a limited period of 3 months. You may reapply to have this assistance extended if there is no change in your circumstances.

You qualify for Social Relief of Distress if:
• you need help while you wait for your children’s grants to be processed
• a crisis or disaster has occurred (e.g. your house has burnt down)
• you do not qualify for a grant, and you are in a desperate situation
• you are unable to work for a period of less than six months because you are medically unfit
• you are unable to get maintenance from the other parent of your child or children
• the breadwinner in the family has died
• the breadwinner has been sent to prison for a short time (less than six months)
• you have been affected by a disaster, but the area or community in which you live has not been declared a disaster area.

How you can apply:

1. Visit your nearest South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) office to apply for social relief of distress.
2. You will be given an application form to fill in at the SASSA offices. The application form is not available online but you can get it at your nearest SASSA office

3. Submit your filled in application form along with the following documents:
• A certified copy of your 13-digit barcoded identity document and your children’s birth certificates.
• If your identity document and/or a birth certificate are not available:
i. An affidavit commissioned by a Justice of the Peace (police officer). The affidavit must contain a clause which indicates that provision of incorrect or inaccurate information will result in prosecution in terms of Section 21 of the Social Assistance Act, 2004.
ii. A sworn statement by a reputable person who knows the applicant and the child. This may be from a councillor, traditional leader, social worker or minister of religion.
iii. Proof that an application for a birth certificate or identity document has been lodged with the Department of Home Affairs.
iv. Where applicable, a temporary identity document issued by the Department of Home Affairs.
v. A baptismal certificate.
vi. A road to health clinic card.
vii. A school report.

Please note: No application can be processed without the sworn statement/affidavit

4. If you do not have an identity document and birth certificates, an affidavit from your local police station, chief, councillor or religious leader may be enough proof.

5. Show proof that you:
• have applied for a grant
• have had an emergency (e.g. provide a police report that your house burnt down)
• have tried to get maintenance
• have no other support
• are married, divorced, or single
• have no income
• have a short-term medical disability.

The assistance may only be for a limited time but it could be life-saver. It’ll help millions keep body and soul together.

For more information on the application process, read the government official site here


Tell us: What do you think about this assistance that SASSA provides?