Access to the welfare system and allowances for refugees in Greece:
If you are a recognised refugee or a beneficiary of subsidiary protection, you have the right by law to receive the necessary social assistance under the same conditions as Greek nationals. The Greek welfare system is supervised by the Ministry of Labour, Social Security and Social Solidarity, Welfare General Secretariat.
The following entities are supervised by the Ministry.
- Legal entities of Public Law, Welfare Providers, such as the Centre for the Education and Rehabilitation of Blind Persons, the National Deaf Institution and the National Centre for Social Solidarity (EKKA);
- The Social Welfare Centres in all the regions of the country;
- The private welfare agencies in Greece, that are accredited by the state such as associations, NGOs;
- The agencies in Greece that are registered in the National Registry.
You can find more information here in Greek, provided by the Ministry.
Can I access national financial support?
If you are a recognised refugee or a beneficiary of subsidiary protection with a valid residence permit, you may be able to access the national welfare system. It is titled Social Solidarity Income (SSI) and it combines:
- Financial support (maximum of 200€ for the head of the family, plus 100€ for any additional adult, plus 50€ per child of the same family; the maximum monthly amount is 900€, regardless of the composition of the household).
- Access to complementary social services, benefits and goods such as free medical care, inclusion in social care facilities and support;
- Services that promote integration into the labour market.
How do I apply for Social Solidarity Income?
If you have already a tax number and you are registered in the database of the General Secretariat of Information Systems (GSIS) of the Ministry of Finance, you may directly submit an application online here.
Otherwise, you may go either to your municipality in your area of residence, or to a Citizen Service Centre (KEP) to register. Note that the most practical method is through the municipalities.
You must submit the following documents in order to register:
- A copy of the residence permits of all members of your family;
- Proof of residence such as a utility bill, electronic lease contract, certificate or relevant private contract stating you are hosted by a Greek resident;
- Bank account details for the welfare payments if your registration is successful; note that NGOs report that you may more easily open a bank account if you first submit the application to the municipality, take the number of protocol and present it to the bank;
- Tax number (AFM), Social security number (AMKA) and copy of your tax declaration and clearance note (ekkatharistiko) for the previous year;
- For single parent families, certificate of death of the absent parent, or detention certificate;
- OAED certificate stating unemployment, if it is available;
- Decision of a Centre of Disability Accreditation (KE.P.A. – ΚΕ.Π.Α.), if available;
- Consent form that needs to be submitted, with signatures legalized from all adult household members;
- Any other document that is considered necessary.
Please note that you can find more detailed information here, including frequently asked questions and answers in Greek. If you face difficulties, you may request assistance by an NGO in your location.
Financial support provided under the SSI is exempted from tax.
As beneficiary of the SSI, you have following obligations:
- To submit an annual tax return/tax declaration (dilosi eisodimatos);
- To consent to the use of the GSIS database in addition to the crosschecking with data contained in the electronic database for social security (EDIKA SA) data in order to confirm the information about each member of the household and its guests;
- To consent to the use of data for the evaluation of the program;
- To consent to social research and home visits by municipality officials for verification of the composition and living conditions of the household;
- Minors’ guardians must ensure that minors attend compulsory education;
- Adults up to 45 years must be enrolled in second chance schools if they have not completed compulsory education.
If a member of my family has a disability, can we find support in Greece?
If you are a recognised refugee or a beneficiary of subsidiary protection with a valid residence permit, or an applicant of international protection – an asylum seeker with a valid asylum seeker’s card not hosted in a Reception Centre, you may go through an assessment procedure to determine whether you qualify for a disability allowance.
To receive the disability benefit you should take the following steps.
Step 1: Submit your application. You can do this online here. Note that information in the link is in Greek. Or you can submit an application to the Centre of Disability Accreditation (KE.P.A.) in your area. You can find the list of offices of KE.P.A. in Greece here. Note that information in the link is in Greek. The relevant details and guidelines are provided here in Greek.
With your application, you must also submit:
- A complete file from your doctor, signed and stamped, as well as with the certification of the doctor’s signature. The relevant form is here in Greek.
- Your residence permit or asylum seeker’s card;
- Your health booklet, if you are insured;
- Your social security number (AMKA).
Step 2: After submitting your application, you will be informed (usually by phone) about your appointment to meet a Health Committee. After one or two months, you will be informed about the final decision and your disability ‘rating’. A rating of 67% is required for persons with disabilities, and 50% for HIV positive persons, in order to qualify for an allowance. If you do not agree with the assessment and rating, you have the right to submit an objection within 10 days of notification. Note that you will need legal advice and support from an NGO in your location to submit an objection.
Step 3: The final step of the process is to submit an application to the municipal services in your location. You must also submit:
- The opinion or decision of KE.P.A.;
- Your valid residence permit or asylum seeker’s card;
- Your tax clearance note (ekkatharistiko);
- Proof of your residence;
- Bank account details.
The amount of the disability benefit varies, depending on the type of disability and it is periodically adjusted and is paid every two months. If you face difficulties with your application, you may ask for support by an NGO in your location.
You may also contact the National Confederation of Disabled People using these details:
+30 210 9949837 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Is there support available for large families?
If you are a recognised refugee with valid residence permit and you legally and permanently lived in Greece for more than ten years, together with your children, you may apply for a special allowance for large families. You can find more information in Greek here, and in English here. You may also ask an NGO in your location for more information.
If I am more than 67 years old, can I find any support in Greece?
If you are a recognised refugee and meet the following criteria, you have the right to a pension for uninsured elderly, provided by the Agricultural Insurance Organisation (OGA).
- 67 years old or more;
- Have a valid residence permit;
- Do not have insurance;
- Are not entitled to a pension from another country;
- Are not entitled to any other allowance in Greece;
- You have stayed legally in Greece for 15 continuous years.
You may find more information here in Greek or request support from an NGO in your location.