This report examines the effectiveness of social grants in South Africa, and how recipients use their grants. As a form of social protection, social grants not only ameliorate poverty and provide a safety net, they also potentially promote social transformation. The main report pulls together a number of aspects. First it reviews the scholarly literature on social grants, examining both the positive and negative outcomes associated with receiving social grants, focusing on state cash transfers to the elderly, children and the disabled. It then details qualitative and quantitative research undertaken to examine the effects of social grant receipt. This empirical research is combined and used to examine how social grants are used, including the extent to which they support household investments and contribute to financial activities. The report concludes by examining the policy implications of the findings.