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Social assistance grants: impact of government programmes using administrative data sets

Project 6.2 of the Ten Year Review Research Programme, Second draft, 19 June 2003

Dr Ingrid Woolard

SARPN acknowledges permission from Jacques van Zuydam to post this report, originally commissioned as part of the South African Government's ten year review process
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Social assistance refers to non-contributory and income-tested benefits provided by the state to vulnerable groups unable to provide for their own minimum needs, such as the disabled, the elderly and young children in poor households. Almost 6 million South Africans receive social assistance grants each month and this number is steadily rising as a result of the extension of the Child Support Grant and increased public awareness of eligibility for grants.

Total number of beneficiaries after correcting for caregivers receiving more than 1 CSG (estimated)

Table 1 in the Appendix shows the number of beneficiaries and the cost of the grants as at February 2003. In this short document we focus on the three child grants (Child Support, Foster Care and Care Dependency), the Old Age Pension and the Disability Grant. These grants accounted for 99,8% of the total value of social assistance grants in February 2003.

The data used in this paper comes from two sources, viz. microsimulations based on the national household surveys of Stats SA and the SOCPENS system of the Department of Social Development.

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