- Types of social assistance
There are three types of social assistance: one-off, monthly and targeted. All types of social assistance are provided upon application by the Directorates of Social Assistance in accordance with your permanent or current address.
- One-off financial assistance is provided in two cases:
- Issuing of an ID card
Refugee and humanitarian status holders have the right to apply for this type of assistance. The maximum amount of the provided assistance is 75 leva.
- Meeting incidental health, educational, logistical and other vital needs
The provision of this type of assistance is determined on the basis of an interview and depends on the occurrence of unforeseeable circumstances. The assistance could be provided only once per year at a maximum amount of 375 leva.
- Monthly assistance
It is determined on the basis of the income, the number of persons in the household, the ownership and type of accommodation, the health status, the family status, the age, the available savings and others. Depending on the individual case, the assistance is calculated as a percentage of the guaranteed minimal income which for 2019 is 75 leva.
NB: An important condition for receiving monthly assistance is the registration in the Labour Bureau, if the applicant is of working age and does not have a labour or civil contract signed. Unemployed persons of working age who do not participate in employment programmes do mandatory community service work for 4 hours a day for a period of 14 days. Parents of children below 3 years old, pregnant women, persons with disabilities, refugees and humanitarian status holders participating in integration activities, and others are exempted from the requirement for community service work.
NB: In addition to the above assistance, persons with disabilities have the right to personal assistants and medical aids in accordance with their level of disability and needs. Check with your General Practitioner and Directorate of Social Assistance in accordance with your permanent or current address for details.
- Targeted assistance
It is provided for covering heating costs. The assistance is provided for five months (from the beginning of November to the end of March). The application can be submitted between 1 July and 31 October.
- Application for Social Assistance
Social benefits are provided by the Directorate for Social Assistance in accordance with the permanent or current address of the applicant. A number of documents must be submitted depending on the individual case and the assistance needed. Such documents could be:
- ID card;
- Document demonstrating the income of the applicant and of the other family members;
- A medical certificate in cases of severe medical condition or disability;
- Other types of documents such as birth and marriage certificates (see section II. Civil Registration and ID Documents, point 5).
Upon the submission of the documents an interview with a social worker is to be carried out at the current or permanent address of residence of the applicant. The official shall prepare a social report with recommendations on the type and amount of the assistance to be granted. Based on this report, the director of the Directorate for Social Assistance issues a decision as to the approval or refusal of the social assistance. Negative decisions can be appealed. In case of a positive decision, the social assistance is provided by bank transfers.
NB: Social interviews are carried out in Bulgarian language, so if necessary, consider searching for a mediator or another Bulgarian speaker to help you.
NB: In case you registered with the Labour Bureau within the first 3 months of the receipt of the decision granting international protection, you have the right to apply for social assistance at all times when needed. In case you have missed this deadline, you can apply for social assistance 6 months after your registration with the Labour Bureau.
- Family Benefits for Children
Refugees and humanitarian status holders face difficulties in receiving family benefits for children. These include one-off assistance for pregnancy and giving birth and monthly assistance. You can apply for such support in the Directorate for Social Assistance. In case of refusal, you may search for legal aid (For organizations which provide free legal aid, see section XII. Non-governmental Organizations).