Income and Social GrantsIncome and Social Grants

Care Dependency Grants

Author/s: Katharine Hall
Date: October 2016


This indicator shows the number of children who are accessing the Care Dependency Grant (CDG) in South Africa, as recorded in the SOCPEN administrative data system of the SASSA.


Data Source South African Social Security Agency (2008 – 2016) SOCPEN database – special request. Pretoria: SASSA.
  1. For trends from 1998 to 2009 (April figures), see the Social Grants link on the home page

The CDG is a non-contributory monthly cash transfer to caregivers of children with severe disabilities who require permanent care or support services. It excludes those children who are cared for in state institutions because the purpose of the grant is to cover the additional costs (including opportunity costs) that the parent or caregiver might incur as a result of the child’s disability. The child needs to undergo a medical assessment to determine eligibility and the parent must pass an income or “means” test.

Although the CDG targets children with severe disabilities, children with chronic illnesses are eligible for the grant once the illness becomes disabling, for example children who are very sick with AIDS-related illnesses. Children with severe disabilities and chronic illnesses need substantial care and attention, and parents may need to stay at home or employ a caregiver to tend to the child. Children with health conditions may need medication, equipment or to attend hospital often. These extra costs can put strain on families that are already struggling to make ends meet. Poverty and chronic health conditions are therefore strongly related.   

It is not possible to calculate a take-up rate for the CDG because there is little data on the number of children living with disabilities in South Africa, or who are in need of permanent care or support services. At the end of March 2016, 131,000 children were receiving the CDG. The grant was valued at R1,500 per month as from the beginning of April 2016.

The provincial distribution of CDGs is fairly consistent with the distribution of children. The provinces with the largest numbers of children, KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape, receive the largest share of CDGs. There has been a consistent but very gradual increase in access to the CDG each year since 1998, when only 8,000 CSGs were disbursed.

SOCPEN (the administrative database of the Department of Social Development) records the Care Dependency Grants paid out per month according to the number of children and their caregivers (beneficiaries). Figures are taken from the daily report on the last working day in July.
There has never been a published review of the SOCPEN database, and the extent of the limitations of validity or reliability of the data has not been quantified. However, it is regularly used by the Department of Social Development and other government bodies to monitor grant take-up.