Updated on 24 January 2024     

Who can apply?

You can apply for social benefits if you have refugee status, humanitarian status, or if you are granted temporary protection or asylum in Bulgaria. The following factors affect whether you can get social assistance and what type of assistance:

  • income;

  • age;

  • marital status;

  • health condition;

  • whether you work;

  • whether you are currently a student;

  • whether your child/children attend school;

  • whether you rent or own property or land.

Types of social assistance

1. Monthly social assistance

There are several requirements that you must meet to be eligible for this assistance:

  1. You have to prove that your income for the previous month is lower than the statutory income, namely:

  • If you live alone - 260, 37 BGN

  • If you live with another person or your family, this amount applies to each of the spouses living together - 157, 80 BGN

  • If you are under 20 years old and attending school - 157, 80 BGN

  • If you are a pregnant woman (45 days before childbirth) or a parent raising a child up to 3 years of age - 189, 36 BGN

  • If you are a single parent of a child up to the age of 20 attending school - 189.36 BGN

If you fall into more than one category, the higher income category will apply to you. The amounts shown apply for the year 2024.

  1. If you are unemployed, you must have been registered with the Labor Bureau for at least 3 months before you apply. This rule does not apply if you have refugee or humanitarian status and you have registered with the Labor Bureau no later than 3 months after you were granted protection.

Registration at the Labor Bureau is not compulsory if you:

  • take care of children up to 3 years of age

  • are a pregnant woman after the third month of your pregnancy;

  • are permanently disabled and have an assessed disability of 50% or more, or have an assessed temporary disability;

  • are taking care of a family member or relative (parents, children) who is ill or has a disability or mental illness and needs constant assistance;

  • are a university student and you enrolled in a programme that requires full-time presence;

  • have a mental illness established by a competent authority.

  1. Your children (if you have any) regularly attend preschool or school unless this is not possible due to their medical condition.

  2. You must also meet the following property requirements: 

  • If you own a home and do not rent, this should be your only property.

  • You must not be a sole trader and you must not be a shareholder in a company. 

  • You must not have debts, income from property (rent), deposits, shares or securities with a total value of more than 526 BGN for each family member. 

  • You must not have a contract entitling you to receive property in exchange for providing care to someone; this requirement does not apply where the persons providing the care are students, unemployed, retired or disabled; 

  • You have not sold any residential/villa/agricultural/forestry property or given it away for free in the last 2 years and the total amount of the transactions must not exceed 3 787,20BGN. 

You can apply for a monthly social allowance once a year.

What is the amount I can receive per month?

The amount you get depends on how much income you or your family members have.  You need to subtract your income for the previous month from the maximum statutory income limit mentioned above.

If you are of working age but you are not working, after being approved for this monthly assistance, you will have to do community service (40 hours a week). The only exceptions are made if you are, for example, a pregnant woman - after the third month of pregnancy, if you are taking care of a child less than 3 years old, etc.

What if I start working?

If your monthly allowance is terminated because you started working, you can apply for a special benefit, which is granted for 3 consecutive months within 1 calendar year from the month following the month you started work.

What is specific here is that you must attach a document to your application that proves you have started working (e.g. an employment contract). For application conditions, see the How do I apply section below).

The amount of this allowance is determined by subtracting your income for the month preceding the month you started working from the maximum statutory income (see above under 'Monthly social assistance', point 1).

2. Monthly rent assistance for municipal housing

You can apply for help to pay your rent if you live in municipal housing and you are:

  • over 70 and living alone; OR

  • you are a single parent raising a child who attends school regularly unless your child's health makes this impossible.

Your name must be written in the lease agreement/accommodation. 

Your income from the previous month must not be more than 526 BGN

In addition to the documents that are generally required (see the How do I apply section below), when you apply for this assistance, you must also submit a copy of your accommodation order and proof that you have paid your rent.

3. One-off benefits

Assistance for accidental needs

Once a year you can apply for a lump sum to meet occasional health, education, utility and other vital needs. The financial assistance is available if: 

  • an accident has occurred; and 

  • your family cannot cover the unexpected costs from its own resources.

Assistance for issuance of an identity card

You can apply for this help if you cannot pay the fees for issuing identity documents. The amount to be granted to you is determined by the Director of the Social Assistance Directorate, depending on the costs and fees set out in the law for the issuance of ID cards and transport costs.

Free train travel

Twice a year you are entitled to travel to Bulgaria free of charge by train (return ticket) if:

  • you have a 71% or more permanent disability or certain types and degrees of disability; OR

  • you are a child under 16 with a permanent disability.


Your personal assistant (incl. guide dogs) is also entitled to this benefit when travelling with you.

When you apply for this benefit, you will be given a certificate to present when travelling.

4. Home Heating Assistance

For more information on the application requirements and the documents needed, see our article:


How do I apply?

To apply, you must fill in an application. Application forms for the different types of assistance can be found at this link.

In the application form, you must indicate whether you want to receive the money in cash through a Bulgarian Post branch or via bank transfer.  For a bank transfer, you need to provide the details of your personal Bulgarian bank account (e.g. IBAN).

You must also attach the following documents to your application:

  1. Documents proving your income, such as: 

  • employment contracts, civil contracts or other contracts showing that you have received income; 

  • Evidence of work in agriculture, forestry or water management

  • Scholarships

  • Other sources of income, such as pensions, other social benefits, etc. 

  1. Your Bulgarian identity documents or your temporary protection card. 

  2. A medical certificate or report issued by a medical advisory committee if you or your family members have a disability recognized by the state.

  3. Depending on your case and the type of assistance, you may be asked for other documents. Some of them are mentioned above, under each type of assistance. 

If you do not have the required documents, such as birth or marriage certificates, you can contact the State Agency for Refugees and ask them to issue you with replacement documents.

After filling in the application form, you need to submit it together with the other documents to the Social Assistance Directorate (SAD) according to your current address.

What will happen after I apply?

Once you have submitted your application, a social worker from the Social Assistance Directorate (SAD) will check within 20 days whether you are eligible for the benefit. The check may include: visiting your home at the address you have given, examining documentation, collecting information and other actions.

Important! If you do not live at the address where you are officially registered and they cannot find you when they check, your application is likely to be rejected.

After the check, the social worker will prepare a social report on your case, based on which a decision will be made. The decision on whether to grant or refuse the benefit you have asked for must be given to you in writing within 21 days after the social report is ready.

What to do if my application is rejected? 

If your application is rejected, you have the right to appeal to the Director of the Regional Directorate for Social Assistance (RDSA) within 14 days of the day you were notified of the refusal.

If the Director of the SAD does not decide on your application for social assistance at all, you can lodge an appeal with the Director of the RDSA within 1 month after the expiry of the period within which the SAD should have notified you of its decision (approximately 27 days from the date of submission of the application).

If the Director has decided on the merits of your application, or if your appeal has been rejected or not even considered, you can appeal to the competent administrative court within 14 days

The decision of the administrative court is final. 

Contact a lawyer as soon as possible to help you file your appeal on time. 

The Foundation for Access to Rights - FAR can also help you with appeals or other questions you may have during the application process. Contact us using this form: