Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion

Bulgaria - Social benefits

Here you will find information on your social benefit entitlements if your income is low and you are at risk of poverty.

The following are described:

  • monthly benefit (месечни помощи);
  • one-off benefit (еднократни помощи);
  • rent allowance (помощи за наем на жилище) ;
  • heating allowance (целеви помощи за отоплениe).

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 2022, the guaranteed minimum income (GMI) isBGN75 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 Directorate 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  6 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.

The right to monthly assistance is granted to persons or families whose income for the previous month is lower than their differentiated minimum income. The basis for determining the differentiated minimum income is the guaranteed minimum income, as determined by the Council of Ministers.

 The differentiated minimum income is defined as follows:

 1. for persons over 75 years of age living alone - 182% of the guaranteed minimum income (GMI);

 2. for persons over 65 years of age living alone – 154% of the GMI;

 3. for persons living with another person over 65 years of age - 110%  of the GMI;

 4. for persons living with another person(s) or family, and for each of the cohabiting spouses – 73% of the GMI;

 5. for persons up to 65 years of age living alone - 80% of the GMI;

 6. for persons with minimum 50% of permanently reduced working capacity – 110% of the GMI;

 7. for persons with minimum 70% of permanently reduced working capacity – 138%  of the GMI;

 8. for children:

 (a) up to the age of 16, and –those studying - up to the completion of secondary education, but not more than up to the age of 20 – 110% of the GMI;

 (b) from the age of 4 to 16, and if –studying - up to secondary education but no more than 20 years of age, and has committed 5 or more absences absent for the month in question or three or more absences without valid reasons of pre-school education - 33% of the GMI;

 c) from the age of 4 to 16, not studying – 22% of the GMI;

 d) from the age of 16 to 18, not studying but registered in the "Labour Office" Directorate – 73% of the GMI;

 e) with official note certifying the obligatory immunizations and prophylactic examinations of the child, issued by the child's GP (in the absence of a GP, by the Regional Health Inspection) – 33% of the GMI;

 9. for orphan children, for children living with relatives or in foster family under the Child Protection Act, for children with permanent disability – 110% of the GMI;

 10. For parents / child-raising parents:

 a) Up to 3 years of age – 132% of the GMI;

 b) up to the age of 16, and if studying - up to the completion of secondary education, but not more than up to the age of 20 – 110% of the GMI;

 11. for pregnant women 45 days before birth and for parents raising a child up to the age of 3 – 110% of the GMI.

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

  • single old persons over the age of 70;
  • parents raising children alone.

Persons and families whose income in the previous 6 months was less than or equal to the “differentiated income for heating” (диференцирания доход за отопление) have the right to heating allowance. The amount of this income is determined depending on the situation of the person concerned (e.g. person living alone, single parent, small children, disability etc.).

What am I entitled to and how can I claim?

Monthly benefit

The amount of monthly allowance is the difference between the DMI as determined for your personal situation 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 136.50. If your income per month is BGN 100, the monthly benefit is BGN 36.50.

If you are a single parent, the DMI is defined as BGN 99.00. If your monthly income is BGN 30 the monthly benefit is BGN 69.00.

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

One-off benefit

You can apply for 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 375. You can also apply for assistance to cover the cost of issuing an identity card. One-off benefit is also granted to persons who have received a permit for treatment abroad by the Ministry of Health at the expense of the Ministry budget to cover the cost of living and subsistence for them, their attendants and donors when they are not included in the amount of the granted treatment. You can find out more about one-off benefit in the Regulations for applying the Social Assistance Act.

Jargon busters

  • Guaranteed minimum income (GMI): the legal basis for determining the access to social assistance and used in determining the amount of social benefits. 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, health condition 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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