Social welfare


Country Report: Social welfare Last updated: 12/05/23


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According to the Asylum Act, the general rules governing the social welfare system are applicable to refugees and beneficiaries of subsidiary protection.[1] Refugees and beneficiaries of subsidiary protection are entitled to the same rights and to access social welfare under the same conditions as nationals.

The Social Insertion Revenue (Rendimento Social de Inserção, RSI) is a social protection measure that aims to support individuals in serious economic need and who are at risk of social exclusion. This is the most relevant social allowance available to beneficiaries of international protection.[2]

In addition to the financial allowance, RSI comprises an inclusion programme, based on a contract established with the concerned household. Access by beneficiaries of international protection is subject to the fulfilment of the general conditions prescribed by law, namely:

  • If the applicant lives alone – their monthly income cannot exceed the amount of the allowance;
  • If the applicant lives with family members – the combined monthly income cannot exceed the total amount of the allowance;
  • The applicant must be 18 years of age or older (although there are situations in which younger persons are also eligible);
  • The applicant must be registered with IEFP.

The financial allowance of the RSI is as follows:[3]

Rendimento Social de Inserção: 2022
Category of applicant Amount
Head of household € 189.66
Other adult in household € 132.76
Child € 94.83

A legislative amendment introduced in 2017[4] removed the prerequisite of one year of regular residence in the country to access the RSI. Therefore, beneficiaries of international protection are immediately directed to this allowance upon recognition of the refugee status or conferral of subsidiary protection, while the assistance described in Reception Conditions ceases.

According to the law, refugees and beneficiaries of subsidiary protection are also entitled to other social allowances such as child benefits and family allowances[5] unemployment benefits,[6] and other benefits, under the same conditions as nationals and as long as they meet the applicable requirements.

In practice, the follow up of social welfare matters is provided by ISS and SCML,[7] following the assistance provided throughout the asylum procedure.

In general, refugees and beneficiaries of subsidiary protection are required to present their residence permit in order to have access to such support measures. While CPR is unaware of systemic problems in accessing support, refugees and beneficiaries of subsidiary protection often report difficulties in meeting their basic needs with the low income provided by the social welfare system.

The Statistical Report of Asylum 2022 estimates that 49.6% of the beneficiaries of international protection in Portugal were autonomous from social (financial) support by the end of 2021.[8]




[1] Article 72 Asylum Act.

[2] Act 13/2003.

[3] Amended version of Ministerial Order 257/12 of 27 August, available at:

[4] Ministerial Order 253/17 of 8 August.

[5] Decree-Law 176/2003.

[6] Act 220/2006.

[7] SCML also supports refugees and beneficiaries of international protection in specific situations, e.g., vulnerable cases such as unaccompanied children that move into assisted apartments and former unaccompanied children previously accommodated at CACR; individuals and families with strong social networks in the Lisbon area.

[8] Observatório das Migrações (OM), Requerentes e Beneficiários de Proteção Internacional – Relatório Estatístico do Asilo 2022, June 2022, available in Portuguese 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