Subsistence level and subsistence benefit

Subsistence benefit is an aid granted by the government to people in need, which is paid by the local government. The subsistence level is established based on minimum expenses on food, clothing, footwear, and other goods and services which satisfy primary needs.

In 2018, the subsistence level for people living alone or for the first member of the family is 140 euros per month and 112 euros for each following family member. The subsistence level for all underage members of a family is 168 euros per month in 2018. A recipient of subsistence benefit, the members of whose family are all underage, has the right to receive an additional social benefit of 15 euros.

Who has the right to receive subsistence benefit

A person living alone or a family whose monthly net income, after the deduction of fixed housing expenses based on the limit of expenses established by the council of the local government, is below the established subsistence level has the right to receive a subsistence benefit.

Upon the grant of a subsistence benefit, family members are deemed persons who are married or in a conjugal relationship and live in the same dwelling, their children and parents who need assistance, or other persons who have a shared household.

Pupils and students up to 24 years of age are deemed members of the family if their address entered in the Population Register coincides with the address of their family members.

If the address of a pupil or student up to 24 years of age does not coincide with the address of their family members entered in the Population Register, they have the right to receive a subsistence benefit from the local government of their residence entered in the Population Register, provided that their family was granted a subsistence benefit in the previous or given month.

How to apply for subsistence benefits

Subsistence benefits are granted and paid by the rural municipality or city government and a subsistence benefit applicant has to submit an application to the local government in whose administrative territory the actual residence of the applicant is located not later than by the last working day of the month to receive a subsistence benefit for the given month. In the application, the applicant must specify the names, personal identification codes or dates of birth, and social status (child, pupil, student, pensioner, unemployed, conscript, etc.) of themselves and their family members.

A subsistence benefit shall be granted within five working days after the submission of all documents. The benefit shall be paid by the local government within three working days as of the date of making the decision.

Required documents

Documents certifying the net income and paid support of a person living alone or of the members of a family during the preceding month must be appended to the application. If any type or amount of income cannot be documented, a subsistence benefit applicant shall verify it with their signature.

If the applicant wishes for housing expenses to be taken into account upon the grant of a subsistence benefit, the applicant shall append documents to the application certifying:

  • the right to use the dwelling (contract of purchase and sale, certification from a housing association, lease contract, etc. shall be submitted upon primary application and upon change of the legal basis for the use of the dwelling)
  • the housing expenses payable during the given month which are considered when granting subsistence benefits.

Upon the application for a subsistence benefit for the first time or changes in the composition of objects in the following list, an applicant shall submit a written list which sets out the following objects used or owned by the applicant and their family:

  • immovables and dwellings which are movables
  • vehicles
  • securities.

In addition to the aforementioned documents, the local government may request the submission of other documents.

How subsistence benefits are granted

When granting subsistence benefits, the total income of people connected to one dwelling and sharing a living space are considered. All profits of a person living alone or a family that are not listed as exceptions in legislation are considered income.

Upon calculating a subsistence benefit, the following shall not be considered income:

  • single benefits paid by the government or the local government
  • periodic benefits paid by the local government which are dependent on family income or granted to compensate for the cost of a specific service
  • social benefits paid to people with disabilities, except for disabled parent’s allowance
  • student loan granted with security guaranteed by the state
  • grants and transport and accommodation benefits paid by the Unemployment Insurance Fund
  • study allowance, needs-based study allowance, needs-based special allowance, and special allowance paid by an educational institution
  • earned income received by a child without secondary education who is enrolled in a basic school, upper secondary school, or formal vocational education until attaining 19 years of age or, after attaining 19 years of age, until the end of the current academic year or until the student is excluded from the list of the school.

Additionally, a local government may choose not to include the following in the income:

  • grants and benefits supporting studying or working;
  • benefits paid to cover specific expenses or loss;
  • monetary benefits and gifts received from loved ones to improve subsistence to the extent of half of the subsistence level per family in one month.

When calculating subsistence benefits, the size of the living space as well as the number of inhabitants and rooms is taken into consideration. The standard area, the expenses of which may be deducted from income, is 18 m² of total area per family member plus an additional 15 m² per family/household. The council of the local government shall establish the limits of fixed housing expenses so that decent subsistence of a person is ensured.

If a pupil or student up to 24 years of age who is a member of the family has additional housing expenses, 18 m² per student is added to the socially justified standard living space of a family. In the case of calculating subsistence benefits for pensioners or people with partial work ability living alone in a dwelling, the standard area can be up to 51 m².

Arrears accumulated before applying for a subsistence benefit are not considered housing expenses.

About subsistence benefit can you read more on website of Ministry of Social Affairs.

If you have any questions about applying for subsistence benefits, please contact with local municipality or city government.

Last amended: 05-02-2018 00:00 | Compiled by: Ministry of Social Affairs