Access To Cash Assistance

Since April 2017, cash assistance in Greece has been delivered through the Greece Cash Alliance (GCA) which is a group of NGOs partnering with and led by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) with European Commission (EC) funding and in cooperation with the Greek Ministry of Migration Policy. In 2018 GCA is led by UNHCR and comprised of:

  • Catholic Relief Services (CRS) in partnership with Caritas
  • International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) in partnership with Hellenic Red Cross (HRC)

The safety and security of all beneficiaries of cash assistance, staff members and members of the general public is of the utmost importance. For security reasons, any threats or acts of violence or intimidation, or aggressive behavior towards any individuals will be reported to the Greek authorities for their action in accordance with Greek law. Additionally, such actions may result in the suspension of activities and possibly of assistance altogether to the responsible persons. Furthermore, such actions may lead to delays in the provision of cash assistance.

Cash assistance is provided via a GCA cash card which is distributed to you by UNHCR and GCA cash staff. This card functions in all ATMs and point-of-sale (POS) machines in shops and supermarkets throughout Greece. This card will not function and will be permanently deactivated if used outside of Greece.

Cash assistance is provided to you in order to help you cover basic needs for the next 30 days from the time the cash is transferred to your card. It is not a salary or an entitlement or right assured to you indefinitely, but a means of assistance provided to persons of concern in Greece to support your ability to meet basic needs. The duration of cash assistance in Greece is provisional and depends on the decision of the Greek authorities, the availability of funding as well as certain eligibility criteria which can change over time.

GCA staff conducting data collection and certification exercises or card distributions are only able to assist you with information or advice about cash assistance. GCA staff are not responsible to advice on other issues or on the provision of services and asking them to do so may slow down the cash assistance process.

UNHCR Protection Desk staff are present during some of the data collection activities to advise you in a confidential manner on any sensitive issues you may be experiencing that may not be related to cash assistance.

NGOs and other actors who operate in the formal sites and accommodation and provide other types of services are not responsible for cash assistance. Cash assistance is the sole responsibility of one of the above mentioned cash agencies members of the GCA, operating in your location in partnership with UNHCR.

You are requested to cooperate with UNHCR and GCA cash staff during all cash related monthly activities. Please make sure to keep all documents issued by the Greek authorities, as well as your GCA card and the receipt that you signed when your card was distributed to you, stored safely with you at all times. Make sure you have them ready to present to cash staff during all cash-related data collection activities. You are advised for security reasons to store your cash card and PIN number separately.

UNHCR and GCA staff will request to examine all your Greek identification documents during data collection activities. Concealing any documents in an attempt to defraud the system, or to receive multiple cards or multiple payments will not result in you receiving additional cash assistance. On the contrary, it may result in the delay or suspension of your cash assistance.

Protect your GCA cash card at all times, do not give your card to anyone, including UNHCR or GCA cash staff. GCA staff will never ask you to return your card even when and if you leave Greece or if you have issues with your cards. If anyone asks you to hand over your card, please contact the helpline or inform the GCA staff at the site helpdesk as soon as possible.

Please store your cash card safely and take care of it at all times to avoid losing or misplacing it. Replacing a cash card is a process that involves several steps and can take up to a month, therefore will result in delays in your cash transfer.

You will receive the following information at the time you receive your cash card:

  • General information leaflets on cash assistance in Greece detailing the amounts you will receive;
  • Your cash card and your PIN number which you will need to use to withdraw cash at ATMs;
  • Instructions on how to use an ATM;
  • The cash helpline number and the cash card provider number to enable you to report any complaints or issues;
  • A printed receipt which you sign, stating when the card was issued, and indicating your UNHCR system registration number. It is strongly advised that you maintain the UNHCR printed receipt provided to you when the card is issued so that if required, you may be asked to present this alongside with your official identification documents issued by the Greek authorities. This receipt is a reference, for UNHCR Accommodation partners or Greece Cash Alliance agencies to identify you and to help solve any queries related to your card and cash transfers, and in case you move sites or there are problems with your card.

For further assistance you may contact the cash helpdesk staff if you are residing in a site, or the accommodation agency staff responsible for the location or apartment where you reside. The cash helpline is available to assist everyone who has queries related to cash assistance.

Land line (fees apply): 210-330-0170

Whatsapp or Viber (free): +30-694-451-4441

Operational hours: Monday to Friday 9:00AM – 3:00PM

The helpline is not operational during national holidays.