Do Foreigners Qualify for SASSA?

Accessing social assistance is vital for vulnerable groups in South Africa. A common question is – do foreigners qualify for SASSA grants?

Unfortunately, SASSA grants are only available to South African citizens and permanent residents, not foreign nationals. However, some welfare aid may be accessible.

SASSA Grants Are for Citizens and Permanent Residents

The South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) provides monthly cash grants to support vulnerable groups like children, the elderly and disabled citizens.

But these social grants are only for South African citizens, permanent residents, and registered refugees. Foreign nationals on temporary permits do not qualify for grants like:

  • Child support grant
  • Disability grant
  • Care dependency grant
  • Old age grant

Therefore, people visiting, studying or working in South Africa on visas cannot directly apply for SASSA grants, even if facing financial hardship.

Options for Foreign Nationals Needing Aid

While SASSA grants are reserved for citizens, some welfare support may be available for foreigners through NGOs.

If you are a foreign national needing food, shelter, or other aid, contact a local NGO (non-profit organization) for an assessment. Many groups work to help vulnerable migrants and refugees.

You can call the Scalabrini Centre helpline on 078 260 3536 to be referred to an NGO in your area that assists foreign nationals.

Consider Voluntary Repatriation

If you are a migrant struggling to meet basic needs in South Africa, you may be eligible for voluntary repatriation assistance to return home through the IOM (International Organization for Migration).

This involves coordinated return travel and reintegration support. Contact IOM South Africa to inquire about eligibility for voluntary return migration programs.

While SASSA itself cannot aid foreign nationals, various NGOs and agencies try to provide welfare support, services and options for people in need. Consult such organizations if you require assistance while in South Africa.

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