Year: 2003
Working paper number: 056
Author: Booysen, Frederik
Unit: SSU

This paper investigates the role of social grants in mitigating the socio-economic impact of HIV/AIDS using data from a panel designed to investigate the household impact of the epidemic. The child support, disability and foster care grants play an important role in mitigating the impact of HIV/AIDS, given that eligibility for these grants is driven largely by the increasing burden of chronic illness, the mounting orphan crisis and the impoverishment of households associated with the epidemic. Yet, take-up of these grants remains low and much scope remains to improve take-up rates. Social grants also play an important role in alleviating poverty in affected households, resulting in significant declines in the severity of poverty. Income received from social grants also saw expenditure on food increase in affected households, while old-age pensions saw household expenditure on education increase. Given that many orphaned and other children live in households headed by their grandparents, these transfers targeted at the elderly benefit children indirectly. This raises the question as to whether or not grants aimed at benefiting children should rather be administered via the education system in order to ensure that these transfers benefit children in a more direct way.

Publication file: wp56.pdf