Social welfare


Country Report: Social welfare Last updated: 11/05/23


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Once they are granted protection, beneficiaries have access to social rights under the same conditions as nationals. This includes health insurance, family and housing allowances, minimum income, and access to social housing.

Several administrations are in charge of providing these services. These include: the health insurance fund (CPAM) for health insurance (PUMA), the family allowance fund (CAF) for family allowances, the housing allowance (APL) and the minimum income (RSA), and Pôle Emploi for job search support and unemployment compensation.

The Court of Cassation ruled in a judgment of 13 January 2011 that refugees can benefit retroactively from all benefits and other social welfare from the date of their arrival in France.[1] This is linked to the declaratory nature of refugee status, which does not exist for beneficiaries of subsidiary protection.

Social welfare administrations are essentially regulated at département level. It is therefore necessary to inform them of any change of address and département for an effective follow-up. The websites set up by these administrations facilitate such procedures.

In practice, the difficulties encountered by beneficiaries of international protection are the same as those faced by nationals and are linked to the inadequacies and shortcomings of the French system, which is sometimes dysfunctional (e.g. access to counter sometimes difficult, delay for payments etc.). On the other hand, certain difficulties may remain due to the lack of proficiency in the French language, combined by the lack of cooperation of certain administrative agents.




[1] Cour de Cassation, Decision NO. 09-69986, 13 January 2011, available in French at:

Table of contents

  • Statistics
  • Overview of the legal framework
  • Overview of the main changes since the previous report update
  • Asylum Procedure
  • Reception Conditions
  • Detention of Asylum Seekers
  • Content of International Protection
  • ANNEX I – Transposition of the CEAS in national legislation