According to the Asylum Act, the general rules governing the social welfare system are applicable to refugees and beneficiaries of subsidiary protection. 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 thus the most relevant social allowance available to beneficiaries of international protection.
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 – his/her 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:
|Rendimento Social de Inserção: 2020|
|Category of applicant||Amount|
|Head of household||€ 189.66|
|Other adult in household||€ 132.76|
A legislative amendment introduced in 2017 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, unemployment benefits, 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, 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.
According to CPR’s observation, due to the coronavirus pandemic, access to relevant services was sometimes challenging, leading to delays in accessing support. The Statistical Report of Asylum 2020 estimates that 48.3% of the beneficiaries of international protection in Portugal were autonomous from social (financial) support.
 Article 72 Asylum Act.
 Act 13/2003.
 Decree-Law 176/2003.
 Act 220/2006.
 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.
 Observatory for Migration, Entrada, Acolhimento e Integração de Requerentes e Beneficiários de Protecção Internacional em Portugal – Relatório Estatístico do Asilo 2020, May 2020, p.200, available in Portuguese at: https://bit.ly/2MGYtB9.