This paper explores the potential contribution of social justice and social policy for an equitable recovery from the crisis in the case of Greece. The first part discusses some theoretical dimensions of social justice focusing on its interrelation with social policy. Social justice is a contested theoretical concept in social and political theory, and a powerful but elusive term in social policy. The second part identifies the stark injustices in the Greek social policy arena, as well as the discontinuities of this ‘paradigm’ with the theoretical discourse provided in the first part. It is shown that the key elements of social justice do not inform social policy reform in times of crisis, and that the embedded political and economic deficit reinforces the uneven impact on the Greek society. The latter are predetermined by a sociopolitical culture based on clientelism, individualism and favouritism, and prescribed in the antisocial international ‘rescue plan’. The paper argues for a crisis social policy inspired by social justice and proposes a ‘distributive escape’ from the Greek deadlock, which entails a new sustainable social policy system, incorporating citizenship rights with basic welfare provisions; redistribution of resources and nurturing communitarian values.