Shanghai was a leader in nation-wide social assistance reform. It has established an extensive and complex social assistance system. This paper offers a general overview of different major assistance programs in Shanghai and uses a recent survey ofMinimum Living Standard Guarantee System (MLSGS) recipients in urban Shanghai to briefly examine the performance of social assistance. It finds that on the program construction and administration level, Shanghai's social assistance is advanced. However, due to high living costs and relatively low values of social assistance, social assistance plays a limited role in relieving the distress of recipients. The paper analyzes the main reasons for this and argues that efforts should be made to give the poor more assistance and help them to get rid of poverty.