The Means Test for adult social assistance grants


Anyone applying for a social grant must qualify through a means test. This is a way of measuring a person’s income and assets. If the person applies for a grant, SASSA will evaluate their income and assets. If the income and/or assets are higher than the threshold set by government, then they will not qualify for a social grant.

The means test depends on their own income and assets if they are not married, and on the income and assets of the applicant and their spouse if married.

Please note: It makes no difference if the applicant is married in community of property or out of community of property.

The income and assets thresholds set for the means test are as follows:

Assets threshold

  • A single person should not have assets totaling more than

      R 1 056 000.00

  • A married person’s joint assets with his/her spouse should not total more than

       R 2 112 000.00

The value of a house that a person lives in is not taken into account, regardless who it belongs to.

Income threshold

  • A single person should not earn more than R R73 800.00 per year
  • or R 6150.00 per month
  • A married person’s joint income with his/her spouse should not be more than R 147600.00 per year,
  • or R 12300.00 per month.

The income of a spouse is taken into account whether you are married in or out of community of property.

However, if your spouse has deserted you for more than 3 months, then the marital status of the applicant is not taken into account. In this case you would need to attest to the desertion with an affidavit.

For up-to-date information on the asset and income thresholds for the means test, check the

South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) website: www.sassa.gov.za.,

or the

Black Sash website: www.blacksash.org.za

What counts as income?

Income means money you get from somewhere else. This can be:

  • Renting out a room in your house for a fee
  • Leasing out any other property for a fee
  • From a private pension fund
  • Earning money for work that you do
  • Profits you make from farming or from any business
  • Compensation for instance from UIF, Road Accident Fund or Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Fund (COIDA)
  • Financial support received from relatives such as dependent children;
  • Maintenance received as an ex-spouse or for a child

If one of the spouses already receives a grant, then that grant must not be counted as income when you apply for a grant.

A husband and wife can claim separate grants If either of the spouses already gets a grant, then that grant must not be counted as income when the other spouse applies for a grant.

Your assets can be:

  • The value of a house or land that you or your spouse own (if the property has a bond registered over it then it is regarded as having a nil value), remember that a home that you own is not counted as an asset if you live in it
  • Bonds or loans or other outstanding debt
  • Cash in the bank or any account with a bank or building society.

What can be deducted when calculating income?

You are allowed to deduct the following:

  • Contributions to a pension fund or retirement annuity
  • Income tax that you pay
  • Payments made to a medical aid
  • Payments made to the unemployment insurance fund

Who cannot get a grant?

Whether  you are elderly, disabled, or a war veteran, a grant may still be refused if you:

  • Already get another social grant (except in the case of a Grant-in-Aid which is only given to a person if they are already receiving either an Older Person’s Grant, Disability Grant or War Veteran’s Grant)
  • A mineworker who receives money in terms of the Occupational Diseases in Mines and Works Act
  • Get money for permanent disablement from the COIDA
  • Are kept and cared for in a wholly funded state institution (like a state-run nursing home, a hospital or a prison), although you may be entitled to a part if you are in a private institution which has a contract with the state
  • Do not pass the means test.

How much money can you get?

The amount you get depends on your income. The amount also changes each year with the annual government budget.

As from 1st April 2017, the following amounts will be paid per month:

  • State Older person’s grant: R 1600.00
  • State Older person’s grant: R 1620.00 if older than 75
  • Disability grant: R 1600.00
  • War veterans grant: R 1620.00
  • Grant-in-aid: R 380.00
  • Foster Child Grant : R 930.00

*Information obtained courtesy –Blacksash

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