Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion

Bulgaria - Social benefits

In what situation can I claim?

Social benefits are based on guaranteed minimum income and differentiated minimum income. The minimum income is considered sufficient to satisfy basic needs (i.e. for staying above the poverty line).

For 2018, the guaranteed minimum income (GMI) isBGN 75 per month.

Targeted or monthly social benefits are paid to people whose income is under or around the minimum.

The differentiated minimum income (DMI) is determined on the basis of the number of family members and the number of people living in one residence. DMI is also linked to the age, family status, health and property of the people concerned. A detailed table with the amount of DMI can be found on the Social Assistance Department website.

Income is defined as all the money from pensions, wages, rents, leases, child benefits, maintenance payments, etc. Family is defined as spouses and all children under the age of 18. Cohabiting people are defined as those living together in one residence and one household.

What conditions do I need to meet?

You are entitled to monthly benefits in the following cases:

  • Your monthly income is less than indicated in the differentiated minimum income table;
  • You have no other home. To be entitled to assistance your home must be no larger than:
    • one room if you live alone;
    • two rooms if your family consists of two or three people;
    • three rooms if your family consists of four people.

You have no movable (e.g. a taxi) or immovable property (e.g. a residence) which could be a source of income. This condition does not apply to your own home if you have no other home. It does not apply to a home where a person with a percentage disability of 50% or more or a seriously ill family member lives. An exception is made for homes which cannot be rented due to their poor technical condition or for health, hygiene, social or other reasons.

You are not registered as sole traders and you do not own capital in a commercial company.

You do not have a contract for ownership in exchange for maintenance and care. This condition does not apply if you are pensioners, disabled people, students or unemployed people and you have undertaken maintenance and/or care obligations.

You have not sold immovable property during the last 5 years.

Savings per family member do not exceed BGN 500 (BGN 1 000 for two people, etc.).

You are unemployed and have been registered for at least 9 months at the Unemployment Office.

One-off benefits are provided for occasional health, educational, domestic and other basic needs. You are entitled to a one-off benefit once per year.

You are entitled to a rent allowance if you live in a municipal residence and your income from the previous month is less than 250% of the DMI. This includes:

  • single old people aged over 70 years if their income is less than BGN 162.5 (150% - 97.5) per person;
  • orphans aged up to 25 years who have qualified at a social vocational training centre;
  • single parents with an income of less than BGN 162.5 (150% - 97.5).

People and families whose 6-monthly income is less than the DMI are entitled to heating benefits if they comply with the above conditions. The amount of this income is defined in this table.

What am I entitled to and how can I claim?

Monthly benefit

The amount of monthly benefit is the difference between the DMI and your income from the previous month. For example, if you live alone and are aged over 75 years, the DMI for your social category is BGN 107.25. If your income per month is BGN 100, the monthly benefit is BGN 7.25.

If you are a single parent, the DMI is defined as BGN 65. If your monthly income is BGN 30, the monthly benefit is BGN 35.

You can find out more about the differentiated minimum income for your category at the Social Assistance Department website.

Rental benefit

Rental benefit is equal to the entire rent without the waste disposal charge. You will receive this benefit by post after you present an invoice or receipt for rent to the Social Assistance Department.

One-off benefit

You can apply for a one-off benefit once per year. The amount of benefit depends on your needs. The maximum amount is 5 times the guaranteed minimum income or BGN 325. You can also apply for benefits to cover the cost of issuing an identity card. You can find out more about one-off benefits in the Regulations for applying the Social Insurance Act.

Jargon busters

  • Guaranteed minimum income (GMI): the legal basis for determining social assistance. This is the minimum income required to cover basic needs.
  • Differentiated minimum income (DMI): calculated by multiplying the guaranteed minimum income by an individually defined coefficient linked with age and social status. The DMI is used to determine who is entitled to targeted or monthly benefits depending on the income of their family members.
  • Social Insurance period: calculated in hours, months and years. This takes into account the time during which employees have worked full-time if insurance contributions on the received remuneration have been paid or are payable. A minimum insurable income has been set for each profession and the period covered by insurance does not include contributions made below this income except in special circumstances. If you have worked part time, the length of employment for insurance purposes is calculated proportionally on the basis of working hours set out in law. This is 8 hours per day under normal working conditions. Length of service for insurance purposes is different from total length of service.

Forms you may need to fill in

Know your rights

The laws and web pages of the institutions which determine your rights can be found by following the links below. These are not European Commission pages and do not represent the opinion of the Commission:

European Commission publications:

Who do you need to contact?

Social Assistance Agency

National Social Security Institute

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