Social assistance

The Social Assistance Act introduces two basic forms of social assistance – granting of social benefits and provision of social services.

SOCIAL BENEFITS

Social benefits are money and/or in kind support that complement or replace personal income or satisfy incidentally arising needs of the assisted persons and families. According to Art. 12 (1) of the Social Assistance Act the social benefits are monthly, targeted and one-off types. The social benefits are granted on the basis of a sample declaration, filed by a full-aged person in Social Assistance Directorate according to his/her permanent address.

Monthly Financial Assistance

Monthly financial assistance is granted to beneficiaries of refugee or humanitarian status under the terms and following the procedure for Bulgarian nationals on the grounds of Articles 9, 10 and 11 of the Regulation for the Application of the Social Assistance Act.

An important condition for receiving monthly financial assistance is the registration with the Employment Bureau Directorates within 3 months from the serving of the decision for granting a refugee or a humanitarian status.
If the persons concerned fail to register within this time limit, they can file an application for social assistance before the Social Assistance Directorate with jurisdiction over their residence address after 6 months from their registration with the Employment Bureau Directorates.

In order to be eligible for monthly social benefits, working age persons must do community work for 14 days, 4 hours/day in conformity with Art. 12 of the Regulation for the Application of the Social Assistance Act. Exceptions to this rule allow for the exemption of mothers (adoptive parents), single guardians and parents who take care of their children, who take care of children below the age of 3, as well as pregnant women after the 3 month of their pregnancy.

Beneficiaries of refugee or humanitarian status are not obliged to do community work during the period of their participation in programs and projects including foreigner integration measures in the Republic of Bulgaria.

For more information, see the website of the Social Assistance Directorates.

Мonthly Targeted Financial Assistance for Renting Municipal Dwellings

Persons who have been granted refugee or humanitarian status are entitled to monthly targeted assistance for the payment of rent of municipal dwellings under the terms and conditions for Bulgarian citizens.

Pursuant to Art. 14 of the Regulation for the Application of the Social Assistance Act the right to monthly targeted assistance for payment of the rent of municipal housing is enjoyed by persons who hold an order for accommodation in municipal housing and whose income for the previous month is up to 250 percent of the differentiated minimum income, if they are:

  1. orphans aged under 25 who are graduates of a social vocational training center;
  2. single elderly people aged above 70;
  3. a single parent raising a child/children.

The benefits are paid upon the submission of a payment document (a document certifying the payment of the rent for municipal housing).

Financial Assistance for Heating

Assistance for heating is granted to  beneficiaries of refugee or humanitarian status under the terms and following the procedure for Bulgarian nationals laid down in Ordinance No Рд-07-5 оf 16 May 2008 оn тhe Terms and Procedure for Granting Targeted Assistance for Heating.

Target assistance for heating is provided to persons and families whose average monthly income for the preceding 6 months prior to the month of submission of the application-declaration is lower than or equal to a differentiated minimum income for heating and who meet the criteria laid down in Articles 10 and 11 of the Regulation for the Application of the Social Assistance Act.

The application period for heating aid is from 1 July to 31 October.
The aid is granted for the period 1 November to 31 March.

For more information, see the website of the Social Assistance Directorates.

One-off financial assistance for meeting incidental health, educational, logistical, and other vital needs

In the event of emerging incidental health, educational, logistical and other vital needs, beneficiaries of refugee or humanitarian status have the right to file an application for one-off assistance under the procedure of Art. 16 of the Regulation for the Application of the Social Assistance Act.

One-off Financial Assistance for the Issuing of an Identity Document

Pursuant to Art. 16а of the Regulation for the Application of the Social Assistance Act a one-off benefit may be granted for the issuance of an identity document in the amount of the guaranteed minimum income which at present is 65 BGN. The assistance is granted irrespective of the one-off cash benefit under Art. 16 of the Regulation for the Application of the Social Assistance Act.

Right to Free-of-charge Use of the Railway Transport on the National Territory

Persons with 71 percent or over 71 percent permanently reduced work capacity or certain types and degrees of disability, children aged up to 16 with a disability, and military invalids have the right to travel free-of-charge twice a year – round trip – by train on the territory of the country.

The right to free-of-charge transport under Art. 19 of the Regulation for the Application of the Social Assistance Act is exercised under the condition of presenting a certificate issued by the Social Assistance Directorate with jurisdiction over the persons’ permanent address on the basis of an application submitted by them.

 Support under the Food Operational Program

Beneficiaries of refugee or humanitarian status are entitled to support under the Food Operational Program under the terms and following the procedure for Bulgarian nationals.

The support under the Operational Program is implemented by means of two main types of operations – the provision of individual food packages and the provision of warm lunch.

Individual food packages: the support under the Program is provided to individuals and families assisted under Ordinance No РД-07-5 of 2008 on the terms and the procedure for granting targeted assistance for heating.

Warm lunch: the support under the Program is provided to individuals and families who receive monthly assistance and whose income is lower than the differentiated minimum income; single persons who receive a minimum pension (for years of contribution and old age, for disability, social and survivor pensions); roaming and street children and adults. Partner organizations for the provision of warm lunch for the target group are municipalities or areas on the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria.

The right to targeted funds for diagnosis and treatment in inpatient healthcare facilities

The right to receive targeted funds for diagnosis and treatment in inpatient healthcare establishments is enjoyed by persons who do not have an income or personal property allowing them to participate in the health insurance process in conformity with a Decree of the Council of Ministers 17/2007. The scope of the cases who meet the conditions laid down in Art. 1 (3) of the Decree encompasses also beneficiaries of refugee or humanitarian status.

For more information, see the website of the Social Assistance Agency.

Assistance for People with Disabilities

Beneficiaries of refugee or humanitarian status have the right to receive assistance for people with disabilities under the terms and following the procedure laid down in the  Integration of People with Disabilities Act and the Regulation for the Application of the Integration of People with Disabilities Act.

A condition for granting a monthly benefit for social integration is the existence of an expert decision issued by TEMC/NEMC, a social assessment, and an application lodged with the Social Assistance Directorate with jurisdiction over the permanent address of the person with a disability by the person himself/herself, a legal representative or an attorney.

For more information, see the website of the Social Assistance Directorate.

Right to Social pension

Beneficiaries of refugee or humanitarian status have the right to receive pensions that are not related to labor activity, such as social old-age pension and social disability pension.

Social Old-age Pension

The right to social old-age pension is enjoyed by persons who have turned 70, when the annual income per family member, as of the time of turning 70, is lower than the total of the guaranteed minimum income established for the country over the last 12 months.

Social disability pension

The right to social disability pension is enjoyed by persons who have turned 16 and who have permanently reduced work capacity / disability type and degree of more than 71 per cent.

SOCIAL SERVICES

Social services are based on social work and are aimed at supporting the assisted people in carrying out their day-to-day activities and achieving social inclusion. They are provided according to the desire and personal choice of the individuals who need them.

The use of social services is carried out under the Terms and Conditions of the Regulations for Implementation of the Social Assistance Act.

For the purposes of preparing an individual assessment of support needs and an individual support plan, individuals wishing to use social services submit a written application at their current address to the following authorities:

  1. The Director of the Social Assistance Directorate – for the social services that represent activities delegated by the state;
  2. The mayor of the municipality – for the social services that represent local activities;
  3. The management body, when the provider of social services is an individual under Art. 18, para. 3 and 4 of the Social Assistance Act.

Based on the application and documents attached to it, a social assessment of the needs of the individual for social services is conducted, which is included in a proposal report.

Accommodation in specialized institutions and residential services and acceptance in social services within the community

Beneficiaries of refugee or humanitarian status are entitled to accommodation in specialized institutions and residential services and acceptance in social services within the community under the terms and conditions for Bulgarian citizens.

Accommodation in specialized institutions and residential services as well as the acceptance in social services within the community is carried out following an order issued by the Director of the Social Assistance Directorate on whose territory the service operates based on the prepared proposal report and in the order the applicants’ documents have been received at the Directorate.

According to Art. 36 of the Regulation on the Application of the Social Assistance Act, the social services offered within the community are as follows:

  1. Social services in a home environment:
    • personal assistant
    • social assistant
    • home assistant
    • home visiting system
  2. Day care center:
    • day care center for children and/or young people with disabilities
    • day care center for disabled adults
    • day care center for children and/or young people with severe multiple disabilities
    • day care center for adults with severe multiple disabilities
    • day care center for disabled adults – weekly care
    • day care center for disabled children and/or young people – weekly care
    • day care center for the elderly
  3. Center for Social Rehabilitation and Integration – form of hourly support for children/adults, related to rehabilitation and both social and psychological counseling, assistance for career guidance and realization, independent life skills recovery, preparation and implementation of individual programmes for social inclusion, including people with addictions.
  4. Residential care social services:
    • Family type accommodation center:
      A Family type accommodation center is a place for living in a family resembling environment for a limited number of people – no more than 15. The center can be used in combination with other social, health or educational services and in accordance with the needs of the accommodated individuals. The center provides support to children with or without disabilities, adolescents or adults with a high degree of dependence on care as well as elderly people.
      The accommodation of beneficiaries of refugee or humanitarian status in a family type Centre is carried out on the grounds of Art. 36 (4), Art. 41a, and additional provision 26 of the Regulation for the application of the social assistance act.

      • family type accommodation center for children without disabilities
      • family type accommodation center for children with disabilities
      • family type accommodation center for young people with disabilities
      • family type accommodation center for adults with mental disabilities
      • family type accommodation centre for adults with dementia
      • family type accommodation center for adults with physical disabilities
      • family type accommodation center for mentally retarded adults
      • family type accommodation for elderly people

      For more information, see the website of the Social Assistance Directorate

    • Centre for temporary accommodation
      A Centre for temporary accommodation is a form of social service provided to homeless people for a maximum of 3 months within the calendar year. The centre provides a place for living and assistance on inclusion in training and retraining courses, other qualification courses and / or job finding as well as on the social adaptation of service users.
      The accommodation of beneficiaries of refugee or humanitarian status in a Centre for temporary accommodation is carried out under the terms and following the procedure for Bulgarian nationals determined on the grounds of Art.16 and Art. 33(3) of Ordinance N 4 of 16 march 1999 on the terms and the procedure for the provision of social services, as well as аrt. 16b.(1)(4) of the Social Assistance Act  and the Regulation for the Application of the Social Assistance Act.
    • Crisis centre 
      A Crisis centre is a system of social services for children and / or adults victims of violence, trafficking or other forms of exploitation that are provided for a period of up to 6 months and are aimed at providing individual support, meeting daily needs and offering legal advice or socio-psychological assistance where immediate intervention is required, including through mobile crisis intervention teams.
      The accommodation in a Crisis centre for beneficiaries of refugee or humanitarian status is carried out on the grounds of Art. 40b (6), (7) and additional provision 25 of the Regulation for the application of the Social Assistance Act.
    • Interim-care facility
      An Interim-care facility is a form of social service:

      • for children at risk under the provisions of the Child Protection Act for children aged between 15 and 18, providing accommodation for up to 8 children as a child protection measure and support by specialists for children to acquire knowledge and practical skills enabling them to lead a relatively independent life and preparing them for inclusion in community life;
      • for disabled adults providing accommodation for up to 8 people, and support by professionals for adults to acquire practical skills enabling them to lead an independent life and preparing them for inclusion in community life.

      The accommodation in an Interim-care facility of beneficiaries of refugee or humanitarian status aged between 15 and 18 is carried out under the terms and following the procedure for Bulgarian nationals laid down in the Regulation for the application of the social assistance act, and on the grounds of the Additional provision 32.

    • Supervised Facility
      A Supervised facility is a form of social service for disabled adults or young people aged between 18 and 25 who have been resettled outside the family under the provisions of the Child Protection Act, providing accommodation and conditions for leading an independent life. Individuals are supported by specialists outside the service by means of psychological, social, legal and labour consultations. The capacity of the service is up to 6 residents.
    • Safe shelter
      A Safe shelter is a form of social service for adults with permanently reduced working capacity / type and degree of disability, who, supported by specialists, lead relatively independent lives in a family resembling environment. The capacity of the service is up to 8 residents.

      • safe shelter for people with mental disabilities
      • safe shelter for mentally retarded people
      • safe shelter for physically disabled people
  5. Shelter
    A Shelter is a form of social service provided for a period of no more than 3 months within the calendar year during a certain part of the day (from 17.00 on the current day to 10.00 on the next day) to homeless individuals and families in emergency situations requiring the immediate satisfaction of their basic needs related to shelter, food, hygiene and social counselling.
  6. Social educational and professional centre
    A Social educational and professional centre is a form of social service aimed at the vocational training of individuals above the age of 18 with a certain degree of reduced working capacity.
  7. Mother and Baby Care Unit
    A Mother and baby care unit provides temporary accommodation for up to 6 months to pregnant women and mothers at risk of abandoning their children, fosters parental attachment and assists young mothers through social, psychological and legal counselling and support.
  8. Community support centre
    A Community support centre is a form of social service providing activities related to the prevention of abandonment, prevention of violence and dropping out of school, deinstitutionalization and reintegration of children, training in skills for independent living and social integration of residential care children. The centre offers the following services: social and psychological counselling of children and families at risk, assessment of parental capacity, mediation in cases of parental alienation and divorce / separation conflict, evaluation and training of future foster parents and adopters, counselling and support for children with behavioural problems, implementation of social programs for children and families at risk. Centre staff specialists participate in multidisciplinary teams under Art. 16, Para. 5 of the Social Assistance Act for conducting an individual assessment of the needs for support and preparation of an individual support plan.
  9. Centre for work with children at risk
    A Centre for work with children at risk
    is a system of social services related to the prevention of children ending up on the streets and dropping out of school, social rehabilitation and integration of children living permanently or partially on the street through individual work with the child and his / her family, family counselling and support, medical and hygienic services, securing children’s literacy and parental skills training.
  10. Foster care
    Foster care is the raising and upbringing in a family environment of a child resettled in a family of relatives or in a foster family.
  11. Community dining rooms
    A Community dining room is a form of social service aimed at satisfying food needs of people who cannot afford it themselves.
25.06.2017