This report summarizes the initial findings of the National Income Dynamics Survey (NIDS) regarding social assistance grants in South Africa. A comparison to various other data sources is also included in order to highlight any shortfalls or strengths in the NIDS data in comparison to previous surveys. To date there has been no publicly available nationally representative survey which includes detailed information on social assistance received. The October Household Surveys from 1995 to 1999 include questions on whether social assistance is received and what form it takes (child support grant, disability grant etc.), and sometimes including questions on how much is received. The General Household Surveys from 2003 to 2007 include questions on what form of social assistance is received, if any. Demographic statistics on grant recipients can also be obtained from the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) which is responsible for managing grant payments. NIDS contributes to knowledge by including questions such as who receives the payments, how much do they receive, how long the grant has been received, whether the respondent has ever applied for a grant, why it was rejected or why they never applied. This will hopefully provide some insight into the effectiveness of the social security system and encourage further research on the topic. This report considers social assistance for children, the elderly and the disabled in turn. It then provides some simple analysis of the importance of social assistance to poor households.
National Income Dynamics Study, Discussion Paper No. 10, 25 pp.