Universal Social Protection: Universal disability grants in South Africa

According to its 2011 Census, 2.87 million people in South Africa or 7.5 per cent of the population lives with a disability. It is one of the only countries in sub-Saharan Africa to provide an allowance for people with disabilities (PWDs). The Disability Grant (DG) is provided to adults over 18 years of age and is the only non-contributory allowance provided to persons of working age in the country. The grant also covers persons with chronic illnesses such as HIV/AIDS, which has a prevalence of 18 per cent among people between the ages of 15 to 49 years.1 The amount of the grant stands at 1,500 South African rands (ZAR) (US$112) and is fairly generous, considering South Africa’s status as a middle-income country.