Cash Assistance

UNHCR uses cash-based interventions to provide protection, assistance, and services to the most vulnerable. Cash helps the displaced meet a variety of needs, including access to food, water, healthcare, shelter, that allow them to build and support livelihoods.

UNHCR encourages those who have received the following SMS on their phone, to approach any of the following post offices to receive their cash assistance through iris scanner verification.

SMS: “Your case xxx will receive cash assistance from Egypt Post office through IRIS scan”

Iris-enabled Post Offices:

  1. October: El Hossary, Service complex (Mogamma El-khadamat), Seventh district, Distinct (Elmotamyez), Sixth district, Third district, First district-Zayed, Main October, Mina garden city
  2. Giza: Ard El Lewa, Kafr Tuhrmus, Madinet El Awqaf, Haram Central, El Maleka, Mohandssen, Giza First
  3. Downtown Cairo: Cairo Main Office
  4. South Cairo: Maadi
  5. East Cairo: Ain Shams, Zahraa Ain Shams, Martyr Abdel Moneim Riad, Qubaa east, New Nozha, Eighth district, Tenth district, Swiss project
  6. Katameya: Youth housing-Obour, Obour city, Obour Market, First settlement, Madinty, Orabi association, 10th of Ramadan, 6th neighborhood, 33th neighborhood, 9th neighborhood, 44th neighborhood
  7. Alexandria: El Mandara, El Montazah, Madinet Fisal, Alexandria Main, El Nokrashy, El Saray
  8. Borg El Arab: El agamy-betash, New Borg El arab, Hanoveel, Borg El-arab old, Free Zone
  9. Damietta: New Damietta, Faculty of commerce, New Damietta second, Mubarak housing
  10. Monofya: El Sadat city
  11. Dakahlia: Gamasa

What types of cash assistances is UNHCR providing directly?

Multipurpose Cash Assistance: cash for basic needs provided either regularly on bi-monthly basis or one-off during the winter months (winterization grant) to the most vulnerable registered refugees and asylum seekers, according to the results of the vulnerability assessments.
Other cash grants: such as livelihood and cash for education are provided as once-off following sectoral criteria applied by UNHCR and other relevant partners (such as the Catholic Relief Services).

Note that not every registered refugee has the right to receive a cash assistance. Cash assistance is provided to the most vulnerable refugees based on specific eligibility criteria.

Do I need to apply for assessment to start receiving multi-purpose cash assistance?

As a first step you must register yourself and your family with UNHCR in Egypt. If you already have your UNHCR card you covered this step already.

Based on information you provided to UNHCR during the registration, UNHCR will be able to determine your eligibility for cash assistance. If further information is needed, UNHCR will refer your case to Caritas for a vulnerability assessment interview.

In case if there was a significant change to your financial situation (such as loss of main source of income) since the last UNHCR registration appointment, you may contact Caritas directly to schedule an appointment for the interview. Due to the large number of people requesting support, please book an appointment for a vulnerability assessment interview with Caritas. Caritas may not have room to serve you if you approach their offices without an appointment. Please note that completing the interview does not mean you will be automatically included to cash assistance.  Also note that UNHCR’s partner (Caritas) is responsible only for data collection through interview and providing you with important information, feedback and response mechanism for cash assistance. Caritas does not make any decisions related to cash eligibility. UNHCR is the final decision maker for both initial and appeal decisions related to cash assistance.

How UNHCR determines who is eligible for multi-purpose cash assistance?

UNHCR relies on multiple sources of information to reach eligibility decisions related to cash assistance. Information used for selection includes the information recorded during your registration with UNHCR and at times interview conducted by Caritas staff as well as other information recorded. The decision takes into consideration several factors like: financial, well-being and risk profiles. Variables including refugee/asylum-seeker’s age, place of residence, number of family members, education level, financial status, access to other assistance, specific needs, medical status among others are considered. Each refugee and asylum seeker’s profile is compared against other refugees and asylum-seekers registered with UNHCR and the one who is more financially vulnerable and has higher risk profiles is selected. Any eligibility decisions related to cash does not deny or enhance access to other assistance programs.

I was asked to provide money to be included on the cash assistance list, what should I do?

Please do not trust anyone who claims to be able to directly add you to the list of beneficiaries in exchange of money or claims to know the reasons of prioritization of cases. UNHCR is working to ensure that the right families which are most in need are selected for cash assistance. All UNHCR services are free of charge.

The eligibility process and determination is automated using desk formula and no human intervention is possible. UNHCR is the final decision maker related to inclusion to cash assistance.

How do I know if I am eligible for cash assistance?

If you are found eligible to receive cash assistance UNHCR will notify you via SMS to the phone number you provided to UNHCR registration staff or UNHCR Infoline. The SMS will include details on how to collect assistance (where to collect assistance, who and what documents (if any) you will need to show to verify your identity), as well as the deadline for receiving the cash assistance, You may also receive follow up call from Caritas staff. Please make sure you keep your contact information up to date with UNHCR, so we are able to reach you. If you change your telephone number, please make sure to inform us via UNHCR Infoline or registration unit through this link: https://enketo.unhcr.org/x/9dUBf4OV

Where can I receive more information about the cash assistance provided by UNHCR?

For any inquiries, feedback, and complaints concerning cash assistance provided by UNHCR, please contact our partner Caritas- Basic Needs project on the below phone numbers. Caritas will respond to all your inquiries, provide you with required information and take any necessary actions, if required.

Caritas Greater Cairo:

  • Working days and operating hours:  Monday to Friday from 8:30 AM to 3:30 PM. Closed on Saturday and Sunday
  • Contact numbers (Infoline numbers):
  • 01129880899-01288064703-01129880800-01129880111-01129880060- 01129880886.

Caritas Alexandria:

  • Working days and operating hours:  Monday to Saturday 9 AM to 3:30 PM. Closed on Friday and Sunday.
  • Contact numbers (Infoline numbers):
  • 01151890999- 01151889882- 01157088411
  • 034838245- 034875198 – 034875197
  • WhatsApp messages including CBI-related inquiries, complaints, requests for call back from Caritas Alexandria are received on: 01151890999

Caritas Damietta:

  • Working days and operating hours: Sunday to Thursday from 9 AM to 3:30 PM. Closed on Friday and Saturday.
  • Contact numbers (Infoline numbers):
  • 01016684787-01156624557-0572432404- 01207936632-01122000821
  • WhatsApp messages including CBI-related inquiries, complaints, requests for call back from Caritas Damietta are received on: 01274376908 – 01122000821

Where will the interview take place?

Due to the current pandemic situation, and as a safety precaution, most of the interviews will be conducted via telephone and in limited cases Caritas premises either in Nasr City, 6 October, Alexandria or Damietta, however some interviews may take place at your home. Families will be informed in advance of the date and time of interview, and of any documents that will be needed during the phone interview.

What will happen during the interview?

All Caritas staff will start the phone interview by introducing themselves, their occupation in Caritas and the purpose of the call. They will also review your registration information with you to confirm that they are indeed Caritas staff. During the interview, a questionnaire will be filled out with you.

How long will the interview take?

The interview will take around one hour, depending on the family size.

How do I prepare?

  1. Please make sure your updated mobile number is known to UNHCR. Contact UNHCR Infoline in case you have changed your telephone number, or UNHCR registration unit on this link: https://enketo.unhcr.org/x/9dUBf4OV
  2. Furthermore, please have your UNHCR identification documents for all your family members ready.
  3. In case of an “in office” or “home-based interview” you will be asked to show any documentation you may have, such as rental agreements, bills (electricity and gas), medical reports, etc.
  4. In case of a home-based interview, you will be asked to allow data collectors to view different areas of your place of residence.

Who should attend the interview?

The principal applicant as registered with UNHCR must fill the interview questionnaire with the data collector, s/he will be responsible to provide accurate information on all members registered on his/her file and will be required to present their IDs before the interview. If a home visit was required for the interview, all members are encouraged to attend the interview and fill their data with the interviewer directly.

Will non-registered families be interviewed?

Non-registered families will not be included in these interviews.

I cannot make it to the assigned appointment. Can I reschedule it?

Yes. If you need to reschedule your appointment, please inform Caritas with at least two days advance notice. You can reschedule by calling these phone numbers:

Alexandria: 011 5189 0999

Damietta: 010 1668 4787

Greater Cairo and other governorates: 012 8806 4703, 011 2988 0899

Please note that these numbers are for rescheduling only.
If Caritas is not informed of a cancelation in advance, there will be delays and you may not be contacted until the following month.

What will happen after the interview?

In case you are selected to receive cash assistance, UNHCR will send you an SMS with the details on how you can collect your cash assistance.

What should I do if the interviewer / data collector is asking me embarrassing questions?

Please contact Caritas with your concerns. If you can, ensure to provide the name of the data collector/interviewer with whom you have concerns.

What should I do if the interviewer/data collector asks for money or favors in exchange for adding me on cash assistance?

UNHCR services are free of charge. Do not pay for the interview and report the incident to UNHCR Infoline immediately.

We ask you not to deal with anyone claiming to provide or expedite any of UNHCR services and to report the incident as a case of fraud to: [email protected]

How do I know how much I should receive?

UNHCR will send you an SMS with your cash assistance amount.

Why has my cash assistance increased / decreased?

UNHCR provides cash assistance based on a scale that takes your family composition into consideration. The amount you get may change due to changes in your family composition and available funding.

How long will I receive cash assistance period?

The cash assistance is provided only for limited period (up to one year) and is subject to renewal based on continued vulnerability and availability of funds. UNHCR will send a text message (SMS) to your phone that is registered at UNHCR indicating the duration of your cash assistance.

How do I know when my assistance will end?

UNHCR will send you an SMS with your cash assistance duration on the telephone number registered at UNHCR. If your assistance is stopped unexpectedly and you did not receive a text message with the assistance end date, please contact Caritas.

Where do I collect my cash assistance?

You can collect your cash assistance at any post office in Egypt. In case you were notified with an IRIS enabled cash collection, you will be required to approach an IRIS enabled post office noted in the SMS which is the nearest to your registered address. You can also approach any other iris-enabled post office to collect your cash. (a list of Iris enabled post offices can be found through this page.

How do I know if I should receive the cash through Iris scanning or through UNHCR card?

You can know this information through the notification SMS you will receive from UNHCR. If you are to receive the cash assistance through Iris scan, this will be clarified in the SMS. Also, a hyperlink to the list of iris-enabled post offices will be provided in the SMS.

Otherwise, and if the SMS does not mention that you are iris-enabled, then you can receive your cash assistance from any post office branch all over Egypt using your UNHCR card.

A sample of the SMS you will receive is demonstrated below:

Iris-Enabled Cash Collection:

[NAME] [Case ID] will receive cash assistance of [VALUE] through IRIS scan from [EPO] by [END DATE]. To find the nearest Iris-Enabled Egypt Post Office please check [URL].

Non-Iris Cash Collection:

[NAME] [Case ID] will receive cash assistance of [VALUE] through Egypt post office by [END DATE]. Follow this link to find the nearest Post Office [URL].

If you are still unsure whether you should receive your assistance through iris-scanning, please contact Caritas hotline and they will provide you with the necessary information.

Caritas Cairo: 011 29880800, 01288064703
Caritas Alex: 034838245, 034875198
Caritas Damietta: 01156624557, 0572432404

What should I do at the post office to collect my assistance?

You may be asked to either

  • Present your UNHCR Identification/ card at the cashier in the post office. The post office will review your photo, case number and name. then, you will receive the cash assistance. The procedure is the same at all post- offices.

OR

  • Scan your Iris on the iris scanners at the post office. If your iris scan matches with UNHCR records, you will receive the cash assistance. Without the need to present your UNHCR card

I went to the Post Office and was told there is no money for me, even though I have received an SMS.

Please ensure you are following SMS instructions and remember:

  • Only principal applicant on the case indicated in SMS can collect assistance.
  • Ensure you collect assistance before cash-out deadline.
  • Approach different post offices.
  • If the problem is not solved, please contact Caritas with your concerns. A counsellor will discuss your concerns with you and advise you.

I received an SMS notifying me that I am entitled to the cash assistance. However, I have an expired UNHCR card. What do I do?

The post office will provide you with your cash assistance even though your document is expired. This is an exception due to the current COVID-19 situation.
If the problem persists, please contact Caritas hotline and they will help you with that issue.

Caritas Cairo: 011 29880800, 01288064703
Caritas Alex: 034838245, 034875198
Caritas Damietta: 01156624557, 0572432404

I have an emergency and I cannot go the post office to receive the grant (on the day I received the SMS). What can I do?

UNHCR is keen to give refugees and asylum-seekers enough time to cash the grant. Therefore, UNHCR usually extends the collection period over 15 days. The exact time period will be communicated to eligible refugees and asylum-seekers in the text message sent by UNHCR, so please approach the nearest post office before the end of the collection period.

I received an SMS informing me to approach the Post office to collect my cash assistance through the iris scanner , but I have a medical condition in my eyes. What should I do?

If you suffer from visual impairment or eye problems such as cataracts or other conditions that might lead to iris recognition failure, please make sure to report this to Caritas and your collection method will be amended. You will receive another SMS notifying you of the new time period for cash assistance with your UNHCR card.

Who should collect the money?

The principal applicant as registered with UNHCR receives the cash assistance on behalf of the family. Unless, the head of family decides to delegate another individual within the case to receive funds on his/her behalf. In order to delegate someone within your case to collect cash assistance on your behalf, please contact Caritas to fill and sign a delegation request.

I want my family member [child, sibling, spouse] to collect the assistance money on my behalf, what should I do?

Please contact Caritas to report the issue and they will take you through the process. You will be expected to fill out a standard form that indicates your approval to nominate someone else that has the same UNHCR case number to receive your cash assistance. The procedures are set out to safeguard your entitlements. Your cooperation is needed.

What should I do if I disagree with the head of family on the distribution of the money?

Although the cash assistance that the principle beneficiary receive is meant to benefit the whole family, UNHCR does not interfere in family conflicts/disagreements to determine who the head of family is and who collects the cash assistance on your behalf. We encourage you to engage together as a family and try to seek a solution to this disagreement.

What should I do if our family composition has changed?

Please notify UNHCR of this change in family composition. You will be redirected to book a registration appointment to make sure the right composition of your family is rightly reflected on UNHCR database.

I am not receiving the SMS for cash assistance; but when I go to the Post Office I find my name on the list, why is that?

SMS is the main communication method between UNHCR and you, through the phone number you provided to UNHCR. Please make sure that all your contact information is updated with UNHCR registration through this link and/or contact UNHCR Infoline

I missed the collection period. Can UNHCR still send me the money?

No. Cash assistance is available at the post office until the deadline indicated in SMS.

Please make sure you collect the cash assistance on time. At the end of the collection period UNHCR reclaims the cash assistance.

Who do I contact if I face other problems collecting my cash assistance?

Please call Caritas Infoline in case you face any problem. Caritas counselors will provide you with the suitable advice and will take any required actions. (Please do so as early as possible before the deadline to be able to troubleshoot your problem/ solve your problem in a timely manner).

The person I nominated to receive the assistance on my behalf refuses to give me the money. What should I do?

You can submit a request to cancel/revoke your nomination of an alternative collector to Caritas. Your application will be reviewed, and a decision will be made on your request.

What happens if I do not collect the cash assistance?

If you fail to collect the cash assistance, you may be contacted over your phone by UNHCR or a partner and asked to indicate if you are facing any problems receiving the assistance. If you do not collect the cash assistance for three consecutive distribution cycles, your case will be removed from the cash list and another vulnerable family will be added in your place. Please make sure to contact Caritas Infoline whenever you face any situation that prevents you from collecting your cash assistance.

I have received a phone call from an organization asking questions about my cash assistance. Is this normal? Should I provide respond and feedback?

Periodically UNHCR randomly selects groups of refugees on cash assistance to collect views about the cash assistance program using authorized third-party monitoring company called “SAGACI”.

Please be open in your responses as they help UNHCR and Partners improve services offered to refugees. The survey does not affect your eligibility to receive cash assistance. All monitoring surveys are optional and will NOT affect your assistance, the responses you provide will be treated with strict confidentiality.
SAGACI employees will use one of the following numbers, we ask you to cooperate with the caller ONLY if they’re calling using one of these numbers:

01150500521 – 01225596072 – 01121920657 – 01123143071
01090450754 – 01098104618 – 01101447083 – 01149342555

I am no longer receiving cash assistance from UNHCR, and I don’t know why. What should I do ?

UNHCR continuously reviews the data of the registered families in Egypt. Every three months, a number of families are included/ re-included for cash assistance based on the analysis of the collected data. If your situation has been changed significantly within three months following the last assessment/interview (such as loss of main source of income) please contact Caritas for an appointment indicating your reasons. Your request will be reviewed by UNHCR and you may be contacted by Caritas to undergo another interview.

I do not think the decision to remove me from the cash assistance list was correct. I want to complain.

UNHCR continuously reviews the data of the registered families in Egypt. Every three months, a number of families are included/ re-included for cash assistance based on the analysis of the collected data. If you have strong reasons to believe you are very vulnerable and qualify for cash assistance, please contact Caritas for an appointment to submit an appeal against the exclusion decision. Your request will be reviewed by UNHCR, and you will receive SMS from UNHCR in case if you are re-included to the cash assistance.

I spoke to UNHCR / Caritas staff about my cash assistance and they were rude. What should I do?

If you believe that any humanitarian staff did not behave in a professional manner during your interactions, you can pursue any of the following actions:

  1. Request an appointment with a counsellor to discuss your concerns
  2. Submit a written complaint and drop it at UNHCR’s complaint boxes;
  3. Deliver a written complaint to UNHCR staff during outreach visits to your location;
  4. Send an email with your complaint to:

Anonymous complaints will not be processed. You must indicate your name, case number and contact information. Please be assured that your identity will not be shared further without your consent. Please be assured that your complaint will not affect your assistance in any way. Please note above channels are only used if you have a complaint about UNHCR/Caritas staff and not about inquiries about inclusion to cash assistance or general information.

What is the winterization grant?

UNHCR provides a one-time cash grant to vulnerable refugee and asylum-seeker families registered in Egypt based on vulnerability criteria that assess socioeconomic vulnerabilities and protection risks. This cash grant is intended to support families to cover some of their needs during winter, in order to stay warm and protected.

How much money will I receive the winterization grant and for how long?

Winterization grant is a one-time grant only. Every person will receive 600 EGP. Please note that the amount of grant varies depending on the number of family members listed in your file.

How will I be informed if I am eligible for cash assistance ?

As with all other types of cash assistance provided with UNHCR, if you are eligible for the winterization grant, you will receive an SMS on the mobile phone registered in UNHCR database informing you of the availability of the grant and the deadline of receiving it from the post office.

Why didn't I receive an SMS informing me that I am eligible for the winter assistance grant?

UNHCR reviews the list of families eligible for the winterization grant annually based on several factors including the amount of funding available, selection criteria and the situation of families that may change from one year to the next. In recent years, UNHCR has experienced funding limitations which have negatively affected its ability to respond to the needs of a wide range of vulnerable households. Therefore, UNHCR strives to include families that have not previously benefited from the grant in the list of eligible recipients so that as many vulnerable refugees and asylum-seekers as possible can receive the grant over the years.

Is there any change in the interview modality considering COVID-19?

As a safety precaution (and in order to minimize the risk of viral transmission), interviews will now be conducted remotely through the phone. Under very limited circumstances, in-person interviews may be carried out at Caritas premises.

What if I do not want my interview to be conducted over the phone?

The process is voluntary and data collection will not be conducted without your consent. Exceptions to remote phone interviews will be applied to the following individuals, who will be prioritized for office-based interviews while taking necessary precautionary measures:

  • Individuals with partial disabilities such as speech/hearing impairment, which would adversely impact their interviews if conducted over the phone.
  • Individuals at heightened risk who express inability (due to safety and/or confidentiality concerns) to conduct the interviews from their current place of residence.

My UNHCR documents expired and I am unable to renew them at this point. I am afraid that they will be considered invalid. What shall I do?

  • Expired UNHCR documents will be considered valid as long as the case is not closed or deactivated. In case you face any problems, please inform UNHCR via our Infoline or [email protected] .

What health and safety measures are implemented in interview rooms to minimize risks of COVID-19 transmission?

  • Reception areas are equipped with sanitizers.
  • Regular sanitization of used spaces takes place at the end of every working day.
  • Personal Protective Equipment is provided to interviewing staff, interpreters and guards.
  • All persons approaching the office are obliged to wear a face mask. Persons not wearing a mask will not be able to enter the premises.
  • Mandatory temperature checks for refugees and staff take place at UNHCR gates.
  • All necessary precautions are taken in terms of handling documents.

How can I verify the identity of my interviewer through the phone?/if I am having a phone interview?

All Caritas staff start the phone/Signal interview by introducing themselves, their occupation in Caritas and the purpose of the call. They will also review your registration information with you to confirm that they are indeed Caritas staff.

  • Your interviewer will call you from one of the following phone numbers only:
  • 01129880808, 01129876688, 01129880010, 01129880040, 01129880030, 01129880404, 01129880559, 01129880882, 01129881123, 01129881138, 01129881153, 01129880440, 01129880070, 01129881161, 01129878833, 01129880554, 01129884423, 01143866769, 01125404701, 01125404703, 01128766784, 01128770785
  • Please note that these numbers cannot receive any calls. If you need to contact UNHCR or any of its partners, please use the Infoline numbers designed to receive calls from refugees and asylum-seekers.
  • You can make sure you are scheduled for a vulnerability assessment by calling our Infoline during the regular working hours.

I was asked to download Signal application for my phone interview with Caritas. What is this application?

Signal application is a messaging app, just like WhatsApp, Telegram or iMessage, but one that offers security and keeps minimal information about its users.

How can I download and use this application?

  • Go to the App Store on iPhone or Play Store on Android and search for Signal
  • Download Signal on your smartphone (your phone must have iOS 10.0+ or Android 4.4+).
  • You need to know the phone number of the person you want to communicate with.
  • That person must also have a Signal account.
  • Both phones need an active internet connection.

In case you were not able to follow the mentioned steps, your interviewer can assist you prior to the interview.

For more information about the signal application, please visit this link: https://support.signal.org/hc/en-us

How can I send requested documents during a remote interview?

Requested documents can be transferred through the Signal application. Under very limited circumstances, documents can be handed physically by taking all necessary precautions in advance including wearing a mask and gloves.

Which cases are prioritized for undergoing the assessment?

  • Cases with appointments scheduled before Covid-19;
  • Cases identified by UNHCR protection either for interim cash support or fast track assessment;
  • Cases requesting new assessments with no assessments conducted in years 2019/20;
  • Cases whose assistance/eligibility decisions are about to expire.

What are the cases that I might not be able to collect my entitled cash assistance?

You will no longer be able to collect your entitled cash assistance in the following circumstances:

  • You have voluntarily closed your file with UNHCR
  • Inactive-/closed records by UNHCR
  • Failure to collect cash assistance for three consecutive months without providing valid reasons.