Social Assistance and Social Services

Фотография: Ивелина Берова

People who have been granted refugee status or humanitarian status are entitled to social assistance (under the Social Assistance Act) by applying to the relevant Social Assistance Directorate (SAD) at the Social Assistance Agency (SAA) at current residence address.

  1. Types of social assistance
    • Monthly, one-off or target social allowance
    • Social allowances are disbursed after filing an application-declaration by a template by an adult at current residence address to the Social Assistance Directorate. Within 20 days of filing an application, a social worker conducts a social survey and prepares a social report. The social survey is conducted at the home of a person with refugee or humanitarian status or his/her family at the current residence address.

      Important! Social assistance is provided only after an assessment of income, years, marital status, health and property status has been made. Family members are taken into account.

    • Resident-type community social services
    • People receiving international protection are entitled to access residential social services such as a family-type placement center, a temporary accommodation center, a crisis center, a transitional dwelling, a sheltered home, a sheltered home and a shelter.

      In order to benefit from these services, a person with refugee or humanitarian status must apply for accommodation with the Social Assistance Directorate at the current residence address. After making a request, the responsible SAD makes a social assessment of the person’s needs and draws up a report of accommodation suggestion to be sent to the SAD on whose territory the residence service is located. Accordingly, this Social Assistance Directorate issues an order for accommodation.

    • Family allowances
    • This type of social assistance is provided in cash and/or in the form of social investment to families whose income per member is less than or equal to BGN 350.

      For children who live permanently in the country and are not accommodated for full-time childcare at a specialized institution for children, they are paid each month up to the end of secondary education, but not more than 20 years of age.

      Family allowances are granted by the Social Assistance Directorates on the basis of an application-declaration together with the necessary documents, and are submitted to the relevant SAD at the current residence address.

      Important! Access to family allowances for persons granted international protection in Bulgaria is hampered because they are not mentioned in the Family Allowances for Children Act as people entitled to family allowances. Therefore, when filing documents, they may be refused such social assistance. In order to overcome this issue, it is best for the person applying for family allowances to be accompanied by a social worker and, in the case of a refusal, the social worker should contact the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee (BHC).

  2. Access to social assistance and conclusion of an agreement for integration with the municipality

    Under the Ordinance on the terms and conditions and procedure for concluding, implementing and terminating the agreement for integration of aliens granted asylum or international protection (Ordinance on Integration Agreements) of July 19, 2017, upon signing such an agreement between the beneficiary of international protection and the mayor of the municipality where he wants to live is supported by:

    • organizing the development of an individual integration plan for a child – a family member, together with the Social Assistance Directorate and the legal representative of the child;
    • referral to the Social Assistance Directorate, if necessary.

    The Ministry of Labor and Social Policy of the Republic of Bulgaria, through the SAA, under the conditions provided for the Bulgarian citizens, provides access to:

    • social services;
    • social allowances;
    • programs and measures for child protection.

    Under the Ordinance, access to social assistance includes the provision of:

    • monthly social allowances under the Social Assistance Act;
    • one-off targeted social assistance for issuance of an identity card;
    • target heating aid;
    • social services;
    • one-off social allowances for incidentally arising health, education, communal and other vital needs;
    • ensuring the payment of the provided hospital medical aid for diagnosis and treatment in the medical establishments of people who have no income and/or personal property;
    • possibility to use the temporary accommodation center social service within 3 months per calendar year;
    • option to be included in programs and measures to protect children.