Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion

Bulgaria - Social benefit programmes for long-term care

In what situation can I claim?

The National Programme “Assistants for People with Disabilities” was created to finance care for people with long-term disabilities or seriously ill lone people in a family environment. The Programme is financed from the State through the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy budget for active labour market policy. You can apply for a personal assistant if you have a person in your family who needs permanent care and you are unemployed.

Domestic social services (for example, delivering meals to people at home and providing care services, such as help with personal or domestic hygiene) and public canteens are local activities financed by the municipalities and the Social Protection Fund of the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy.

Old people's homes are for people who have reached pensionable age based on their period of social insurance cover and old age and for people with a disability established by a territorial expert medical committee of the national expert medical committee. Social services in specialised institutions are provided only after having exhausted the options for providing social services in the community.

Municipalities and private providers provide social care services to old people and people with disabilities in return for payment.

What conditions do I need to meet?

The following groups of persons in need of permanent care are entitled to support:

  • persons with a permanent reduced work capacity or disability of 90% or more and an identified need for assistance;
  • children under the age of 18 with a permanent reduced work capacity or type and degree of disability and an identified need for assistance;
  • children or adults deinstitutionalised from specialised institutions for people with disabilities.

Participants in the National programme “Assistants for people with disabilities must be registered as unemployed at the Labour Office and must meet the conditions for receiving monthly social benefits.

Conditions for personal assistants:

  • You must be of a working age;
  • You must be a family member: mother, father, grandmother, grandfather, great-grandmother, great-grandfather, child, grandchild, directly descended great-grandchild, husband or wife;
  • You must care for a child with a long-term disability placed in your family in accordance with the Child Protection Act;
  • You must live in the same locality as the person under your care;
  • You must not be in receipt of a pension for your period of social insurance cover or old age or an occupational pension for early retirement;
  • In exceptional cases unemployed people who do not comply with the above conditions but offer permanent care for children up the age of 18 may be entitled if their monthly family income does not exceed three times the differentiated minimum income. You can read more about the differentiated minimum income on the Social Assistance Department website.

The home-based services (including the social assistant service) are provided under various projects and the conditions for their provision are different depending on projects’ specifics.

Specialised institutions : in order to be placed in and use the services of old people's homes, you must pay a fee of 70% to 80% of your income depending on the type of the institution or a fee amounting to your actual monthly expenditure.

The amount of the fees for community-based social services varies between 5% and 50% of your income.

What am I entitled to and how can I claim?

Social assistant

The provision of the service “Social Assistant” under the National Programme “Assistants for People with disabilities” has been suspended since it is provided under various projects under OP “Human Recourses Development”.

Under the domestic social services provided by the municipalities you are entitled to:

  • delivery of food to your home;
  • home cleaning;
  • assistance in submitting applications to social benefits departments, health authorities, etc., if you are disabled or seriously ill;
  • assistance in obtaining technical aids for people who are ill or disabled;
  • care assistance such as measuring blood pressure etc., and maintaining social contacts;
  • domestic services: purchase of food and basic necessities, payment of household bills with the user's money;
  • assistance in maintaining personal hygiene, laundry for personal clothing and bed linen;
  • minor repairs to homes and domestic appliances;
  • organisation of cultural events, celebration of personal festivities, trips and excursions.
You can use these services if you submit the required documents to the social care services covering your residential address. A social worker will visit you in your home within 7 days with a questionnaire. You can stop using social care services for up to 3 months per year without declining them, during which time you will not pay a fee.

Public canteens provide a hot meal for lunch - soup, main course and bread. The food is provided also at home.

Community-based social services include day care centres, social rehabilitation and integration centres, protected housing, family-type accommodation centres, etc.

People are placed in social services (including specialised institutions and community-based social services) by order of the Head of the Social Assistance Department covering their home. Placement in social services is possible following a visit by a social worker to your home with a questionnaire. The placement of children is carried out in accordance with the Child Protection Act.

Specialised institutions provide:

  • suitably furnished and equipped sleeping accommodation, rooms for dining and social contacts;
  • healthy and nutritious food including dietary food, depending on the health and personal preferences of the residents;
  • assistance in the provision of medicines and the administration of special medical care;
  • assistance in the use of various administrative services if required;
  • opportunities to independently organise free time (books, magazine subscriptions, quiet games, floristry, knitting, talks and discussions on current issues, etc.);
  • organisation of joint events with other specialised bodies, excursions, celebration of personal and national festivities;
  • information on the legislation regulating the social service provision and on the rights and obligations of the residents.

Jargon busters

  • TEMC: Regional Expert Medical Committee.
  • NEMC: National Expert Medical Committee.
  • Guaranteed minimum income (GMI): the legislative base 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 individual coefficient linked to age and social status. DMI is used to determine who is entitled to targeted or monthly benefits dependent on the income of the 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 for the remuneration received have been paid or are payable. A minimum insurable income is set for each profession and the period of social insurance cover 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.

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

  • Triaditsa No 2
  • 1051 Sofia
  • Telephone: +359 28119607
  • Hotline: +359 29350550
  • ok@asp.government.bg

Social Assistance Department

National Social Security Institute

Employment Agency

Central office of the National Social Security Institute

Share this page