Answer to a question from a reader

Can I get a social relief of distress grant to hire a wheelchair for my mother?

The short answer

You may be able to get a Social Relief of Distress Grant in the event of a crisis or disaster.

The whole question

I look after my mum who is 84 years old. I was in a car accident and I really need help. I have to hire a wheelchair for my mum as it was destroyed in the car accident.

Can I get a Social Relief of Distress grant or financial help?

The long answer

Thank you for your email asking whether you can get a Social relief of distress grant from SASSA to hire a wheelchair for your mum.

Groundup has written an article about qualifying for social grants and we will cut and paste the relevant information below. We have highlighted the line that may apply to you with regard to the car accident and the subsequent need to replace the wheelchair.

Another possibility is to apply to a charity like Gift of the Givers, who seem to have given wheelchairs to a number of people in South Africa. We will include their contact details below the information from the Groundup article:

Social relief of distress

Social relief of distress is temporary assistance for people in the following situations:

  • 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 disabled for a period of less than six months and therefore not eligible for a disability grant

  • 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.

Social Relief of Distress is issued monthly for a maximum period of three months. An extension of a further three months may be granted in exceptional cases. You cannot apply for this grant if you are already the recipient of a different grant.

How to apply

You should apply at the SASSA office nearest to where you live. If you are too old or too sick to apply for the grant at the office you may have a friend or family member apply on your behalf. You can also arrange for a home visit, although you may wait a while for this.

The application forms must be completed in the presence of a SASSA officer. When you hand in your application you will be given a receipt as proof of application. The application is free. You will receive written notification if your application is denied. You have the right to ask for reconsideration and you can also lodge an appeal within 90 days.

Applicants must provide proof of identity. If you do not have a 13-digit bar coded Identity Book or birth certificate for children, you may provide alternative documentation as proof of identity. Contact your nearest SASSA office to find out which alternative documents are accepted.

Other documents required for application: If married, provide ID of your spouse and proof of spousal relationship (marriage certificate, divorce order, a sworn statement, or spouse’s death certificate). Sworn statement or affidavit stating the income and assets of yourself and your spouse. Supporting documents to prove your income and assets. You must also provide proof of the income of dependent children.

The application process takes up to 90 days and your first payment will include back-pay for the time you wait to receive the grant. This is calculated from the first day of application.

Note: When affidavits are required, SASSA will provide the affidavits to be completed.

Here are the Gift of the Givers contact details:

SA - National Call Centre

Toll Free Number: 0800 786 911



Answered on July 29, 2019, 2:50 p.m.

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Please note. We are not lawyers or financial advisors. We do our best to make the answers accurate, but we cannot accept any legal liability if there are errors.