In what situation can I claim?
You may claim guaranteed minimum resources (Mindestsicherung) if you have no income or a low one. You have low income if it is below the minimum standard. The aim of guaranteed minimum resources is to provide a decent life for people who are not able to meet their daily living costs with their own resources.
If this cash benefit is not sufficient, you may receive benefits which cover your additional individual needs.
If you receive minimum resources, you are also registered with the statutory sickness insurance.
What is covered?
In order to receive guaranteed minimum resources, your income must be below the minimum standard. One’s own income from work or other benefits, such as unemployment benefits and maintenance payments, are taken into account as income first. However, care and child benefits are not considered when determining a beneficiary’s income. Assets are also included in the means test. Single persons and households (e.g. families or domestic partnerships) may be entitled to means-tested needs-oriented guaranteed minimum resources.
Guaranteed minimum resources are a general non-contributory system for the entire population, which means that residence in Austria is required. Several groups are assimilated to Austrian citizens, including EEA citizens, third-country nationals with specific residence permits (notably “Permanent resident - EU”) and recognised refugees.
What am I entitled to and how can I claim?Needs-oriented guaranteed minimum resources
Guaranteed minimum resources are provided for as long as the situation of need persists. If your household income is under a certain threshold, you are assumed to be in need.
In 2017, the minimum standards for the following groups were as follows:
- Single persons, single parents: EUR 844.47
- Couples (per person): EUR 633.36
- Minor children (per child): at least EUR 152.01
25% of the minimum standards are for covering housing costs.
In 2017, the base amount provided for the accommodation needs of the following groups were as follows:
- Single persons, single parents: EUR 211.12
- Couples (per person): EUR 158.34
Some Länder provide higher benefits, for example if the actual accommodation costs are higher. Income, unemployment benefits, maintenance payments and similar income are taken into account, reducing the entitlement.
The amount of the guaranteed minimum resources for the year 2018 will be published upon presentation of the respective minimum standard regulations of the Länder.
Different amounts of benefits in the Länder are possible. Some Länder grant lower benefits to persons entitled to asylum and no benefits to persons granted subsidiary protection or lower benefits from the title of guaranteed minimum resources.
Guaranteed minimum resources are paid as a differential amount between own income and the minimum standard, or - if the beneficiary has no chargeable income - as a full amount of the minimum standard.
A family unit is composed of the beneficiary and their dependent family members, spouses or cohabiting partners living in the same household.
In order to prove your entitlement to guaranteed minimum resources, you have to submit a proof of income and statements of assets to the district administrative authority responsible for the place of your permanent residence. Your application must be accompanied by copies of the following documents for each person living in your household and submitted to:
- Proof of identity (photo ID)
- Personal documents (birth certificates, certificates of citizenship or residence permits/registration certificates or letters of recognition, marriage certificate, legally binding divorce decree, compromise agreement)
- Recent income statements (pay certificate, notification of pension starting, decision letters concerning benefits, alimony and maintenance payments, letters from the Public Employment Service Austria (AMS) and the appointments card, sickness benefit, child-raising allowance, other income)
- Evidence of rent payment (tenancy agreement, proof of amount of current rent, service charges, rent and housing benefit decision letters)
- Evidence of benefits claimed (e.g. AMS benefits, applications for pension, housing benefit, housing benefit granted by the tax office or maintenance, other applications for entitlement to an income)
- Evidence of assets (e.g. car, savings, building loan contracts, life insurance, pension provision, property and land etc.)
Obtain the application form directly from the district administrative authority responsible for your place of permanent residence and then send it together with the necessary copies of documents by post or slip it into the authority’s letterbox.
The social welfare authority periodically reviews eligibility requirements.
Persons capable of work must as a rule be willing to perform reasonable work. They will be sent to the competent labour office in order to be registered as job-seekers. There are some exceptions relating to age (men over the age of 65 and women over the age of 60). Further examples of such exceptions are care obligations or ongoing vocational training or school education which was started before the age of 18 However, studies are not included. In all these exceptional cases, recipients of guaranteed minimum resources are not required to work or seek work.Supplementary benefits to cover for additional needs
Since the cost of housing can be considerably higher in some regions, possibly too high to be covered by the 25% share for housing support, some Länder grant additional benefits to cover the cost of housing
The Länder can also provide support in the case of higher housing cost by offering building subsidies, but this is not done in all Länder for social assistance recipients.
Benefits provided by the Länder can include support to cover special and additional needs, such as heating allowances or the purchase of a new refrigerator (for example in the context of support in special circumstances).
You may apply for cash benefits or benefits in kind to cover these additional needs. The benefits are always provided individually and may, therefore, vary.Sickness insurance
If you receive guaranteed minimum resources, you are automatically registered with the statutory sickness insurance if you do not have sickness insurance.
- Minimum standards are the basis for calculating guaranteed minimum resources. Minimum standards set by the Länder aim to provide compensation for the costs of food, clothing repair and alterations, personal hygiene, housing, heating, electricity, as well as for personal needs, such as sufficient participation in social and cultural activities. Find out the amount of each minimum standard here.
- Habitual residence - The term ‘habitual residence’ is defined under EU law. Please see: EU Regulation on the coordination of social security systems). In practice, it means the place where you have your centre of interests.
Forms you may need to fill in
- The application form is only available directly from the district administrative authority responsible for your place of permanent residence.
Know your rights
- Information brochure on guaranteed minimum resources)
- Minimum standards levels (Vienna)
- Detailed information on the respective guaranteed minimum resources system in your state (Land) can be found on the following sites:
Whom do you need to contact?
Federal Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs, Health and Consumer Protection
T: +43 0800201611
Municipal Authority Division (Magistratsabteilung) 40 of the City of Vienna
- Guaranteed Minimum Resources department
T: +43 1400040611