Assistance in Material Need
The System of Assistance in Material Need is
- Regulated by Act no. 111/2006 Coll., on Assistance in Material Need, as amended.
- A modern system to assist those with insufficient income; the system motivates them to actively strive to secure the resources they need to meet their living requirements. It is one of the means applied by the Czech Republic to combat social exclusion.
- Based on the principle that “all persons who work must be better off than those who are out of work or who avoid work“.
The Act on Assistance in Material Need
- Lays down situations of inadequate means of subsistence or housing, and defines some emergencies.
- Helps deal with certain special circumstances that can only be resolved with immediate assistance. It sets the rule that everyone is entitled to receive basic information that can not only address their particular material need, but in the first place prevent it from occurring. Social work with clients is an integral part of the system of assistance in material need.
- Municipal authorities (delegated and with extended power) carry out some social work tasks under the system of assistance in material need.
A Person in Material Need
Is a person or family that does not have enough income and their overall social and property relations prevent them from enjoying what the society accepts to be basic living requirements. At the same time, these persons are objectively unable to increase their income (through the due application of entitlement and claims or through the sale or other disposal of one’s own assets), thereby improving their situation through their own actions.
The following are not deemed to be persons in material need,
- Those who do not try to improve their situation by own actions.
- Those who are not in an employment or similar relationship, not self-employed or not listed in the register of job seekers.
- Those who are listed in the register of job seekers and who have refused to take up short-term employment or to participate in an active employment policy programme without serious reason.
- Those who are not entitled to sickness benefit or who have been awarded a reduced level of benefit because they intentionally brought on their illness,
- Those who are self-employed and their income after deduction of reasonable housing costs is lower than the amount of living due to the fact that they were not enrolled in sickness insurance.
- Those who have been sanctioned for failing to comply with their obligations as a child’s legal representative connected with the truancy of child (in time of compulsory school attendance).
- Those who are in preventive detention prison or in remand (full calendar month).
Benefits and their Disbursement
- Benefits of assistance in material need are:
- Allowance for Living
- Supplement for Housing
- Extraordinary Immediate Assistance
- Regional branches of the Labour Office of the Czech Republic are responsible for granting and disbursing benefits in material need.
Allowance for living
- This is the basic benefit covering cases of material need that tackles the insufficient income of a person or family.
- Persons or families are entitled to an allowance for living if the income of these persons or families is less than the amount of living when reasonable housing costs have been deducted.
- The amount of living is established on a case-by-case basis based on an evaluation of the person’s income, efforts and opportunities. Possibility to increase income by own work, proper application of claims and liabilities, sell or other use of property are assessed primarily. The amount of living for families is determined by the sum of the amounts of living of each family member. The amount of living is derived from the existence minimum and the subsistence minimum.
- The amount of living for a person who owes maintenance to a child at the amount exceeding three monthly payments is the amount of the existence minimum, eventually increased due to dietary food.
- The amount of living for a person who is listed in the register of job seekers and whose employment was terminated due to infringement the labour law rules in the last six months prior to submission of an application for a benefit is the amount of the existence minimum, eventually increased due to dietary food.
- The amount of living for a person who is under health care in a health facility for the full calendar month is the amount of the existence minimum, eventually increased due to dietary food.
- The amount of living for a person who receives allowance for living for more than six months is the amount of the existence minimum, eventually increased due to dietary food. This does not apply to a person who:
- is gainfully employed (at least 20 hours per month) and has income from this activity,
- participates in projects organized by Labour Office,
- is eligible for unemployment benefit or benefit in retraining,
- carries out public service at the minimum extend of 20 hours in a month,
- is over 68 years old,
- is a recipient of old-age pension or invalidity pension at the grade of disability 2 or 3,
- receives cash benefits of sickness insurance due to pregnancy or maternity,
- is a parent who all-day, personally and properly cares for at least one child and receives parental allowance doe to this care,
- is a parent whose children for serious reasons cannon be placed in crèche or kindergarten or similar child-care facility,
- is a person caring for a child up to 10 years eligible for care allowance at the grade I
- is a person caring for a person eligible for care allowance at the grade II to IV,
- is a recipient of care allowance at the grade II to IV,
- is a dependent child,
- is recognised as temporarily incapable to work,
- is recognised by the medical doctor as incapable to work due to health reasons,
- is an employee to whom his/her employer did not pay wage, salary, remuneration or compensation on due date.
- A person who carries out public service at least in the extend of 30 hours per month get the amount of living increased by CZK 605.
- The amount of the allowance for living is set as the difference between the amount of living of a person or family and the income of that person or family, less reasonable housing costs. (Reasonable housing costs are the cost of housing to a maximum of 30%, in Prague 35%, of the income of the person or family).
Supplement for housing
- The second benefit in material need tackles cases where the income of the person or family, including the entitlement to a housing allowance from the system of state social support, is insufficient to cover justified housing costs.
- The benefit is provided to flat owners or tenants who are entitled to an allowance for living and a housing allowance.
- In exceptional cases, a supplement for housing can be provided to a person not eligible for a housing allowance or to a person using a form of housing other than rental.
- The amount of the supplement for housing is determined in such a manner that, on payment of justified housing costs (i.e. rent, services related to housing and energy costs) the person or family is left with the amount of living.
Extraordinary immediate assistance
This is provided to persons who find themselves in situations that have to be resolved immediately. The Act addresses six situations that justify this benefit:
- Where persons do not meet the conditions of material need but, due to a lack of funds, suffer from a serious threat to their health. The benefit tops up a person’s income so that it is level with the existence minimum (or the subsistence minimum in cases of dependent children).
- Where persons are victims of a serious extraordinary event (a natural disaster, storms and gales, ecological disaster, fire, etc.) The maximum amount of the benefit is fifteen times the individual’s subsistence minimum, i.e. up to 51,150 CZK.
- Where persons do not have enough resources to cover essential one-off expenditure connected, in particular, with the payment of an administrative fee for duplicate copies of personal documents or in cases of monetary loss. The maximum amount of the benefit is the amount of this one-off expenditure.
- Where persons do not have enough resources to acquire or repair basic furniture or durables. The maximum amount of the benefit is the amount of this expenditure, but the sum of benefits granted must not exceed ten times the individual’s subsistence minimum in one calendar year, i.e. the amount of 34,100 CZK.
- Where persons do not have enough resources to cover justified costs relating to the education or special interests of dependent children or ensuring necessary activities of social and legal protection of children. The amount of the benefit may be a maximum of the specific expense, but the sum of benefits granted must not exceed ten times the individual’s subsistence minimum in one calendar year, i.e. the amount of 34,100 CZK.
- Where persons are at risk of social exclusion. This concerns, for example, the situation of persons who have been released from custody or from prison, who have left an orphanage or foster care on reaching adulthood, or who have completed treatment for an addiction. A benefit of up to 1,000 CZK may be granted. The benefit may be awarded repeatedly, but the sum of benefits granted in one calendar year may not exceed four times the individual’s subsistence minimum, i.e. the amount of 13,640 CZK.
Proceeding to Grant Benefits
- It starts after the application on a prescribed form is put in. These forms are available in regional branches of the Labour Office of the Czech Republic or on internet address https://www.uradprace.cz.
- Applications for benefits are submitted to the regional branch of the Labour Office of the Czech Republic according to the applicant’s permanent residence.
- A decision to grant benefits assesses whether the person or family is actually in material need and whether they comply with the conditions for that particular benefit. In the final phase, the level of benefit is determined. A Uniform Information System of Labour and Social Affairs ensures an integrated approach throughout the territory of the Czech Republic.
This information has been simplified and is only intended as a rough guide. The full conditions for the granting of benefits of assistance in material need are set out in the legislation or will be explained to you, based on a more detailed knowledge of your own situation, by staff from the Labour Office responsible for making decisions on benefits.