With the changes in the Social Assistance Act, people of this age, whose income is below the poverty line, will now receive BGN 249.48 each. Since the beginning of the year, the poverty threshold has become BGN 504, and thus the guaranteed minimum income, which was 75, has been abolished BGN
A differentiated minimum income is introduced, which is 30% of the poverty line, or BGN 151.20. For a person living in cohabitation or a family, and for each of the cohabiting spouses, the amount is exactly this – BGN 151.20.
The monthly allowance is determined by subtracting the income of individuals or families in the previous month from the differentiated minimum income. They are declared for the month in which they were received, regardless of which period they refer to, specified by the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy.
After the adoption of the new poverty line, changes were made to the Social Assistance Act, and the Regulations for the Implementation of the Act were recently released. The new limits for access to monthly social benefits come into effect on June 1.
The changed model for determining social assistance will help to expand the circle of people who need support and will increase the monthly amounts. Now 36,000 people receive social benefits, and by the end of 2024, their number is expected to triple and reach 118,000 people.
This will happen after some restrictions in the previous rules are removed. For example, the requirement that the dwelling in which single adults live, not only be unique, but also consist of one room, no longer applies. If there are two, the inhabited property must have two rooms, for three – three, etc. A period is now placed after the word “only”.
In the villages, it is common for the elderly with small pensions to own a house with more than one room, which automatically kicked them out of the system. Now they will be able to apply, and the same applies to those who have a large apartment. However, the condition remains that the aid applicant does not receive rent from part of the apartment.
The other conditions are also valid – not to be a sole trader or to have participation in a trading company. And here there are changes that state that it is allowed to have an ET company that no longer functions. It is also necessary to have no receivables, deposits and shareholdings, as well as no income from movable and immovable property.
For the last condition, until now the requirement was global – one should not own property that can be a source of income, not whether income is actually received. Until now, there was also a condition that the applicant for social assistance had not sold property and had not transferred it for a donation in the last 5 years.
Now the term has been reduced to 2 years. Two other restrictions are also removed – students from private schools and students receiving social assistance. Despite the popular belief that private school can be afforded by people of means, it turns out that for children with disabilities and special educational needs, it is often the only option.
There are also changes in relation to the socially weak unemployed, as for them the restrictive terms imposed if they refuse a given job are reduced. The overall idea of the changes is to make the rules for granting aid less restrictive and more encouraging.
Ensuring easier access to the social assistance system is also a requirement of the European Commission, and Bulgaria has included it in the Recovery and Sustainability Plan. It is envisaged that the submission of the application-declaration will take place in any “Social Assistance” directorate of the applicant’s choice, as well as by e-mail.
In this way, the administrative burden is reduced and the procedure for accepting documents is eased. Applicants will be able to seek help if necessary, regardless of where they are in the territory of the country, it is also written in the draft regulations.
People who have received social assistance to which they are not entitled, it is taken away for a certain period of time. This is not always a scam because people often miss the deadlines for declaring changes in circumstances out of ignorance or due to various life situations. The term of deprivation of social benefits for a period not longer than two years becomes not longer than one year.
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