In general, the law provides access to social welfare for beneficiaries of international protection and does not make any distinction between refugees and subsidiary protection beneficiaries. Therefore, beneficiaries of international protection are entitled to attendance of persons in active and retired age, limited public health care and unemployment benefit, amongst other entitlements e.g. family allowances, sickness and maternity benefits. Social welfare is provided to beneficiaries under the same conditions and on the same level as for nationals.
Nevertheless, there are several forms of social assistance offered by the local government, which require the beneficiary to have already a certain number of years of established domicile. The rules set out by local governments can vary. For example, pursuant to decrees of local governments only those people who have been residing for certain years in the area of the local government are able to justify it with an address card are entitled to apply for social housing provided by local governments. Obviously, beneficiaries of international protection cannot comply with the requirement right after they get out of reception facilities or transit zones. Furthermore, job seekers’ benefit requires at least 365 days of coverage (being employed or self-employed) in the last three years that is hardly the case for beneficiaries of international protection right after receiving protection.
Social assistance is provided by either the competent district government offices or the local governments.
As to managing social welfare issues, difficulties mainly stem from the common slowness and tardiness of the administration system and from the general language barriers owing to the lack of interpreter provided to refugees or persons with subsidiary protection.