Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion

Lithuania - Cash social assistance for people on low income

In what situations can I claim?

Law on Cash Social Assistance for Poor Residents of 1 December 2011 (No. XI-1772).

Cash social assistance comprises both social benefit (socialinė pašalpa) and compensation for the cost of heating, drinking water and hot water (būsto šildymo išlaidų, geriamojo vandens išlaidų ir karšto vandens išlaidų kompensacijos). Both benefits are means-tested and depend on family income and assets.

Those on low income are entitled to social benefit that guarantees minimum funds for satisfying basic needs (food and clothing) and compensation for the cost of heating, hot water and drinking water intended to cover in part the cost of maintaining a household.

Those on low income may receive social benefit if there are objective reasons why they cannot earn enough to keep themselves and they have exhausted all other possibilities of earning income. Their income and assets are assessed when deciding on their entitlement for support.

What conditions do I need to meet?

Cash social assistance is payable to those officially registered as residing in Lithuania, including:

  • citizens of Lithuania;
  • foreign citizens holding a permit of long-term residence in the European Union;
  • citizens of a Member State of the European Union or a Member State of the European Free Trade Association in the European Economic Area or their family members who have the right of residence in Lithuania and who have been residing in the country for at least three months. The last requirement does not apply to citizens (workers) and their family members of a Member State of the EU or the European Free Trade Association;
  • foreign citizens who have been granted protection in Lithuania, except for those in receipt of funds for integration;
  • foreign citizens who are granted asylum in the Republic of Lithuania or temporary protection.

Social benefit (Socialinė pašalpa) is payable where the income of a family member or a single person is less than the State Supported Income (Valstybės remiamos pajamos) (EUR 122), assets are less than the limit set by the State and family members are either employed or out of work for legitimate reasons (studying, retired, disabled, raising small children, seeking work through the local labour exchange, etc.).

Social benefit for a single person amounts to 100% of the difference between the State-supported income (EUR 122) and the average monthly income of a single person. Social benefit for a family, including cases where social assistance is only payable to a child, is as follows:

  • for the first family member – 100% of the difference between the amount of State Supported Income (EUR 102) for a person and the average monthly income of an individual family member;
  • for the second family member – 80% of the above difference for the third and subsequent family members – 70% of the above difference.

Local authorities have the right to award social benefit where people meet these requirements and have income of no more than 50% higher than the State Supported Income level. When someone receiving social benefit starts employment, additional social assistance amounting to 50% of the average social assistance paid over the 12 months prior to employment may be awarded for each month worked, but for no longer than 6 months.

If those receiving social benefit before becoming employed were registered with the local Labour exchange or national employment service of another Member State for at least 6 months and did not work during this period or have worked less than is legally specified, or are in public works, they are in addition entitled to Social Benefit after becoming employed so long as their earnings are not below the minimum monthly or hourly wage and not more than twice the minimum wage. The amount payable is equal to 50% of the average amount of social benefit paid during the 6 months prior to employment and it is  paid for up to 6 months. Social Benefit is reduced for those of working-age who are not working but who are capable of work as follows:

  • by 20% in cases where Social Benefit is paid for 12 to 24 months;
  • by 30% where it is paid for 24 to 36 months;
  • by 40% where it is paid for 36 to 48 months;
  • by 50% where it is paid for 48 to 60 months.

In cases where Social Benefit is awarded for more than 60 months, it is provided in a non-monetary form.

The above reductions do not apply in cases where the Social Benefit is paid to children, including adult children in education, as well as during the period of the payment of Social Benefit, the local Labour Exchange office (Lietuvos darbo birža) or the national employment service of another Member State failed to offer a job or participation in active labour market policy measures or where they participated in socially useful activities organised by municipalities.

Those on low-income may be awarded compensation for the cost of heating, drinking water and hot water. This is based on a means test, which takes account the family income and assets).

Those concerned should not have to pay more than:

  • 20% of the income above the State Supported Income per person for the heating for a standard size of accommodation;
  • 5% of income for basic standard hot water;
  • 2% of income for basic standard drinking water.

Families or single residents entitled to this compensation who own an apartment in a multi-dwelling building are entitled to support towards the cost of a loan taken out to finance the renovation of the building.

What am I entitled to and how can I claim?

People on low income should apply to the local authority in their declared place of residence or in the district where they rent accommodation. Where a person has no registered abode, filling in the required application and submitting the appropriate documents should be done at the local authority of the district in which they are living. Cash social assistance (social benefit and compensation) is provided by the municipality in the place of residence.

An applicant must complete an application form for cash social assistance and attach the required documents relating to income and the assets owned by the family unless the municipality receives data from the state and departmental registers and state information systems.

A decision on the granting of social benefit and/or the calculation and provision of compensation needs to be taken no later than one month from the date of receipt of the application and all the necessary documentation.

Social benefit is awarded for a period of three months. It may be renewed (unlimited number of renewals) if the circumstances have not changed.

Compensation is granted for a period of three months from the date of entitlement. Compensation may be granted retro-actively up to two months preceding the month of submission of the application.

Cash Social assistance (social benefit and compensation) may be granted for a period shorter than three months.

Jargon busters

  • Single person means a person over 1;
  • or a minor, who is declared capable and who is not married or if a married resides separately and has no children (adopted children) living with them.

Forms you may need to fill in

You will find application forms here (select the appropriate one)


Know your rights

These links will help you find out what your rights are. These are not European Commission websites and the information they contain may not necessarily reflect the Commission's point of view:

European Commission publications and websites:

Who do you need to contact?

Information is supplied by the social support departments of local authorities. Most local authorities have an internet address - [name].lt (e.g. vilnius.lt).

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