This section describes social assistance benefits in Poland. These are benefits in cash and in kind, which help people to overcome hardship cases e.g. family and financial problems.
Under what circumstances am I entitled to benefits?
The main aim of social assistance is to help people and families to overcome hardship cases, so that they can become independent and achieve decent living conditions.
Social assistance benefits are non-contributory and therefore, to make use of them, one doesn't need to have made contributions for any kind of insurance. They are granted to people and families whose income doesn't exceed a specified threshold.
Social assistance encompasses benefits in cash and in kind (non-cash). It includes benefits to help families affected by e.g. violence in the family, poverty, homelessness the death of parents, and help in times of hardship and natural disasters.
What conditions need to be met?
Social assistance benefits are available to people and families whose income does not exceed the so-called income criterion Polish citizens, members of the European Union and other foreigners who live in Poland can make use of the benefits.
The income criterion threshold indicates that the net income of a person applying for benefits cannot exceed:
for a single person
PLN 701 per month
per person in the family
PLN 528 per month
The net income for the family over the past month is taken into account when calculating income. The municipal council, by way of resolution, can increase the quotas for temporary and specific benefits.
The person or family applying for social assistance can go to a social welfare centre near them (these centres are located in every municipality).
A community interview aimed at assessing the personal, family, income and monetary situation of the applicant forms the basis for giving social assistance benefits. It is carried out by a social worker within 14 days of the application being made.
Any decision made by a social worker can be revoked.
What am I entitled to and how do I apply?
Social assistance provides benefits in cash and in kind.
These are the main cash benefits in social assistance:
- a permanent allowance (zasiłek stały) which supplements the income of people with work incapacity due to age or disability. These people can also be granted long-term care benefits;
- a periodic allowance (zasiłek okresowy) is for people and families without income or with incomes lower than the statutory threshold, who have insufficient financial means to meet their vital needs. If the financial situation has been caused by loss of work, the person may be entitled to unemployment benefits;
- earmarked allowance and the special needs allowance (zasiłek celowy i specjalny zasiłek celowy) are one-off payments made to individuals and families to enable them to satisfy their most urgent essential needs (e.g. to buy medicines, fuel);
- benefit and loan for economic independence (zasiłek i pożyczka na ekonomiczne usamodzielnienie);
- assistance for becoming independent and to continue education (pomoc na usamodzielnienie oraz kontynuowanie nauki);
- financial benefit to cover the costs of learning Polish for foreigners
- Supplementary parental benefit (rodzicielskie świadczenie uzupełniające, Mothers 4 Plus) .
maximum amount for permanent allowance
PLN 701 per month
minimum amount for permanent allowance
PLN 30 per month
minimum amount for periodic allowance
PLN 20 per month
supplementary parental benefit
equal to the lowest old-age pension (PLN 1,100 as of 1 March 2019)
In case of parents who are already entitled to a pension below the lowest old-age pension, this benefit supplements the pension in order to reach the amount of the lowest old-age pension.
Social assistance also offers benefits in kind such as:
- credited tickets;
- contributions for health and welfare insurance;
- payment for a funeral;
- specialist advice;
- social work;
- shelter, food and necessary clothing in hardship cases;
- care services;
- board and service in a social assistance home;
- education, family counselling and family therapy.
Supplementary parental benefit is granted to the following:
- the mother who either gave birth to or raised at least four children;
- the father who raised at least four children in the event of the mother’s death or where the mother abandoned her children or refrained from bringing them up.
Supplementary parental benefit may be awarded upon request of the person concerned, where the following conditions are fulfilled:
- the mother or father reached the age required, i.e. 60 and 65 years respectively;
- the person concerned either gave birth to or raised at least four children;
- the parent does not have a sufficient source of income to provide necessary means of subsistence (including the right to a pension amounting to at least the lowest old-age pension provided in Poland);
- the persons concerned live in Poland and since being 16 years have had the centre of their personal or economic interests in Poland for at least 10 years.
Documents to be completed
To claim social assistance benefits, an application must be made in the relevant social welfare centre. Here you will find a list of example applications from the Municipal Social Welfare Centre in Szemud.
Know your rights
The links below set out your rights; they are not European Commission sites and do not reflect its opinions:
- Information about social assistance system in Poland – the Ministry of Family, Labour and Social Policy
- Supplementary parental benefit – basic information
- Supplementary parental benefit – application form ERSU
European Commission websites and publications:
Who do I contact?
Ministry of Family, Labour and Social Policy - Assistance and Social Integration Department (in relation to the allowances)
ul. Nowogrodzka 1/3/5
Tel. +48 226611277
Fax +48 226611276
Ministry of Family, Labour and Social Policy - Department of Social Insurance (in relation to the supplementary parental benefit)
ul. Nowogrodzka 1/3/5
Tel.: +48 226611738 / 226288597 / 226216772
Fax: +48 226611736
Social Insurance Institute (ZUS) – Headquarters (in relation to the supplementary parental benefit)
ul. Szamocka 3, 5
ZUS call centre
Consultation hours are 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. on working days. An automatic information system is available 24/7.
number intended for connections with mobile telephones and fixed and foreign lines: +48 225601600
Email address for general enquiries: email@example.com Search engine of ZUS offices by place name or municipality and postcode