Cash assistance for refugees at the age of 60 and above – UNHCR’s Winter Program

As winter approaches, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency recognises the additional hardships faced by refugees and particularly elderly individuals. UNHCR is offering 35.000 HUF financial support for three months during the winter (received as a one-time payment of 105.000 HUF) for refugees and other individuals under UNHCR’s mandate who are 60 years or older. The program aims to reduce protection risks and address the heightened needs arising during from December till February.

Application period has closed on 10 November

If you have already submitted an application, you will be notified about the details of your in-person registration soon, even if you haven’t received an SMS message so far.

In-person enrolment is scheduled for November 2023, and the one-time payment will be disbursed in December 2023. Exact dates will be shared with you after the online application.

All humanitarian support is free!

UNHCR and other humanitarian organisations offer assistance and financial help only through their own official channels and never through banks or individuals. They will never ask for money, commission fees, or anything else in return.

Criminals often create fake websites to steal your money and data. Always verify that an offer is displayed on before applying.

 1  Check your eligbility

You may qualify for this program if all of the below applies to you:

  • You are a Temporary Protection status holder or Temporary Protection applicant, asylum seeker, beneficiaries of international protection (refugee status or subsidiary protection), a recognized stateless person or an applicant for statelessness status or tolerated stay holder.
  • You are aged 60 or above (as of December 31, 2023).
  • You currently reside in Hungary.
  • You have a valid international / biometric passport or other valid official identification document.

UNHCR would like to inform that given a regional cooperation agreement with IFRC to ensure that cash assistance is provided to those who need it while avoiding any duplication, individuals who have benefited from Winterization assistance from IFRC will not receive the same assistance from UNHCR. Individuals may still qualify for other forms of assistance. (Updated on 20 / 12 / 2023)

2 Submit your application

Application period has closed on 10 November

If you have already submitted an application, you will be notified about the details of your in-person registration soon, even if you haven’t received an SMS message so far.

3 Wait for the notification

UNHCR will review your application to determine eligibility. If you qualify, you’ll be notified via SMS or Viber about the details of your in-person enrolment. Currently, the registration venues include Budapest, Győr, Nyíregyháza, and Debrecen. Additional cities may be considered based on demand. You will be automatically assigned to the closest location to your place of residence, that you are able to change by calling the UNHCR Refugee Helpline.

In case UNHCR finds that you are not eligible for some reason, you will also receive a message via SMS or Viber.  

4 Complete the in-person enrolment

The notification message will contain information on when and where UNHCR will invite you to enrol for the program. During enrolment, UNHCR will check your documents, record your fingerprints and take a picture of you. This information is safely stored within our systems and never shared with anyone else.

Don’t forget to bring the following documents with you:

  • Passport, ID or any document that can prove your identity. 
  • A document to verify your protection status in Hungary, any of the followings is accepted:
    • Residence permit for temporary protection holders (“plastic card”) 
    • Residence permit for temporary protection applicants (humanitarian residence permit, “laminated card”) 
    • Residence permit for asylum-seekers 
    • ID for refugee status holders 
    • ID for subsidiary protection holders 
    • Residence permit for stateless persons (humanitarian residence permit) 
    • Temporary residence certificate provided to applicants for statelessness determination or any other document certifying that you applied for statelessness determination 
    • Residence permit for tolerated status holders (humanitarian residence permit) 

5 Receive the cash through Western Union

After your enrolment is complete, the cash will be sent to Western Union, a financial company that handles money transactions similarly to a bank. When your cash arrives, you will receive a security code in SMS / Viber. With this code and a valid identification document, you can visit any Western Union outlet in Hungary to collect the money. Please note, that you can only pick up the cash from Western Union yourself within 15 days after you receive the message with the code. 

Your nearest Western Union location can be found here.

If you have been notified by UNHCR to collect your cash from a western union outlet, please remember you must do before 03 January 2024, closure of business. If you face any technical difficulties or have questions, ruse the complaint and feedback channels indicated below.

Help and more information

For more information as well as feedback and complaints you can contact the UNHCR Refugee Helpline, +36 80 984 583​ (Monday – Friday, 08:00 – 17:00) in Ukrainian, Russian, Hungarian or English. You can also send an email to [email protected].

Report misconduct

If you witness or experience any inappropriate behaviour by humanitarian workers (such as asking for any kind of favors, including sexual favors in exchange for services and assistance), you can report to any UNHCR personnel or to the UNHCR helpline (+36 80 984 583) or email to the confidential email address [email protected]. Reporting a concern, suspicious or an incident will not affect your rights nor your access to humanitarian assistance.