As of 10 July 2014 this benefit has been replaced by the Minimum Income Allowance.
 

The public assistance benefit is provided to any person or family legally residing in the Republic of Cyprus for at least one year, whose income and other economic resources are insufficient to meet the minimum standard of living as defined in the legislation. The public assistance benefit for persons with low income is provided in the form of monetary support and/or services as stipulated in The Public Assistance and Services Law which is managed by the Social Welfare Services.

The public assistance allowance is not calculated based on the contributions paid by the employers, the employees or the insured persons. Persons entitled to public assistance may be entitled to free-of-charge long-term care services.

Who Is Entitled to Low Income Public Assistance?

The low income assistance is granted to each European citizen:
(A) who has a right of permanent residence (for being employed or self-employment or to retain the status of worker or self-employed person) in the Republic and who resides in the government controlled areas of the Republic, and
(B) whose income and other financial resources are not sufficient to meet their basic and special needs;

Low income assistance is also provided to European citizens in case they:
(A) have resided in the government controlled areas of the Republic for a period exceeding three months,
(B) have acquired the right to reside in the Republic by showing that they have sufficient financial resources for themselves and their families or by monitoring studies, including vocational training, proving that they have sufficient financial resources for themselves and their family members, and
(C) subsequently have lost the above mentioned resources resulting in income and other financial means below the minimum standard of living established by the local law. 

The EU citizens who do not hold the status of worker or self-employed and who exercise their right of residence in the Republic in order to seek work are not entitled to public assistance.

The public assistance benefit is granted to third-country nationals who reside in the Republic of Cyprus and whose income and other financial resources are not sufficient to meet their basic and special needs, only if:

  • they hold a legal status of refugees under the Refugee Law and Regulations. Asylum seekers are excluded;
  • they have applied for asylum or temporary residence on humanitarian grounds according to the Refugee Act and Regulations;
  • they are granted as long-term residents in the Republic of Cyprus or in another European Member State and have a valid immigration permit for Cyprus.

The public assistance is also provided to persons who happen to be victims as defined by the Anti-Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation of Minors Act and/or within the meaning of the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, women and children who are ratified by on the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and Protocols (Ratification) Law, if they reside in the Republic of Cyprus and their income or other financial resources are not sufficient to meet their basic and special needs.

Repatriated Cypriot citizens must be living in Cyprus for at least one year to be eligible to apply for public assistance. While they are abroad, they are not entitled to submit an application for public assistance.

In special circumstances, the public assistance might be provided to the following persons, even if they are fully employed in lucrative work:

  • disabled persons;
  • single parent family;
  • a parent who has at least four dependent children who reside with her/him;
  • persons who, due to very serious family incidents, need financial assistance in order to avoid the risk of breakdown or dissolution of the family.

How Is the Public Assistance Calculated?

The amount of the public assistance monthly allowance for basic needs is up to € 452 for the head of household, up to € 226 for each dependant who is above 14 years old and up to € 135,60 for each dependant under 14 years old. The public assistance allowance varies according to the applicant’s income, number of dependants and special needs (i.e. special care, rent, special diet or special needs). As the applicant’s income increases, the public assistance benefit decreases to ensure that the recipient conforms to the minimum standard set by the law. The amount of public assistance which is provided to a person or family to meet their basic or special needs is the amount by which their income and financial resources fall below the minimum standard.

The Application Procedure and Documents Required

To apply for public assistance benefit the claimant must submit to the local Welfare Office the application form for public assistance benefit accompanied by the following documents:

  • a statement of the International Bank Account Number (IBAN) signed and stamped by the applicant’s bank with the full details of the bank account where the transfer will be made;
  • the monthly payroll of the applicant and the applicant’s family members who are working. In case of self-employed family members a copy of the last contribution payment to the Social Insurance and the account of the insured monthly earnings are required;
  • the relevant certificates in case the applicant or her/his family receive any property income;
  • a copy of the passbook accounts or time bills or statements of any shares held by both the applicant and dependants members;
  • the tenant agreement and the latest proof of payment in case the applicant resides in a rented property;
  • the necessary supporting documents that show the current state of the loan, the payment amount, the frequency and the interest, in case of applicants who reside in private residences for which they have taken loans for construction or purchase;
  • the last certificate or proof of payment for child minders centers, schools or institutions in case the applicant has any minor dependant children for whom she/he pays such fees;
  • one copy of the student certificate or a school statement in case the dependant children are students at an educational institution recognized by the Ministry of Education and Culture;
  • a certificate from the National Guard, in case of militiamen dependant children, which states the enrollment date and the expected date of dismissal from the National Guard.

If the applicant is not a refugee from the occupied part of Cyprus and has children over 18 years old who also live in the controlled areas of the Republic of Cyprus, then her/his children have to complete a registration form and submit the necessary certificates to prove their current financial situation. If the low income assistance is requested as a result of any health / disability issue, the application must include also a medical certificate (or the form YKE 73) signed by a physician which states the disability of the applicant and/or her/his dependants. If the assistance is requested due to unemployment reasons, the application must include a copy of the claimant’s unemployment card and her/his unemployed dependents, if any.

If the application requires approval for care services the following documents must be added:

  • a copy of the passport booklet from the Department of Immigration, the employment contract and proof of payment for social insurance contribution in case the applicant or his/her dependents receive care from a foreign caretaker;
  • a copy of the contract with the caretaker and the latest proof of payment of social insurance contribution, in case the applicant pays a fee for her/his caretaker.

If the applicant is divorced, the following documents must be provided:

  • copies of divorce certificate or order;
  • in case of open conflict the documents requested are: the Family Court application for order of custody, divorce petition, request to property disputes, request of financial assistance for the applicant or children and a statement from the municipality or the district office where the applicant resides, if any;
  • written consent from the other parent of the children, that she/he is aware of the application for public assistance and approves any investigations on the dependants children as part of the application approval process.

In case the applicant is a foreigner, she/he must submit also a copy of the residence permit in Cyprus or copy of her/his yellow slip. The original will be presented during the investigation of the application. Asylum seekers are not required to provide the certificate of survey from the Land Registry.

The Department of Social Welfare reserves the right to request additional documents or proofs that may be needed during the application examination. Home visits at the applicant’s residence may be organised as part of the investigation.

The application form should be completed and signed by the applicant. If the applicant is a minor or disabled person than the form must be completed and signed in front of an adult witness / guardian. The applications that do not have all the fields filled in or not accompanied by all necessary supporting documents will not be accepted.

Upon submission of the application for public assistance, the claimant authorizes the processing of personal data for disclosure of any savings according to the Processing of Personal Data Act. The applicant also agrees that the Social Welfare Services Department may contact her/his dependence members who work in order to provide information on the applicant’s current socio-financial situation. This information will be used in order to calculate the amount of the applicant’s allowance.

The applicant will be notified if the application is not complete. If the application is correct, a Social Welfare Officer will visit the applicant at his/her house and perform a socio-economic analysis regarding the situation of the applicant and his/her family. The Officer will also investigate the applicant’s financial situation through banks, national property agencies and other financial institutions to verify the validity of his/her economic situation. If the applicant finds him- or herself in this situation because of unemployment and no other circumstances exist (such as health problems) then she/he must prove that is searching for work and that he/she is registered with the Department of Labour. Before the final granting of public assistance the officer will also check whether the applicant receives any social insurance benefits which are to be deducted from the low income assistance allowance.

Penalties and Interruptions

The low income public assistance benefit is not provided:

  • for the period during which the applicant was employed in lucrative work;
  • for any period during which the applicant intentionally remains unemployed or voluntarily under-employed or refuses to attend vocational rehabilitation program approved by any competent authority of the State. In case the applicant claims to be unable to work, the Director of the Social Welfare Services may refer her/him to the Multidisciplinary Advisory Group for consideration and decide upon her/his case after hearing the opinion of the Group;
  • for any period longer than one calendar month in which the applicant is absent from the Republic of Cyprus;
  • for any period longer than one calendar month during which the applicant was accommodated in a hospital or other institution and these expenses were covered by the State. The public assistance may be provided additionally to the applicant hospitalization expenses for a period of up to three months to cover the costs of water supply, electricity and housing rent, which the applicant will return after the living the hospital or medical institution.
  • if the applicant’s place of residence, is not freely accessible to the Director at any reasonable time to conduct the research and investigation regarding the applicant’s right to public assistance benefit;
  • if the applicant, in addition to her/his residence, owns any movable and immovable property which she/he refuse to develop or operate in such a manner that could increase her/his income or financial resources;
  • if the applicant’s residence can be utilised in a way that could improve its financial resources or could become self-sustaining;
  • if the applicant refuses to work unless the Director decides that the applicant needs to stay at home to look after minor children or other dependent family members;
  • if the applicant refuses to provide information or evidences regarding her/his economic situation or any other matter that is required by the Social Welfare Services.

Every person who fails to disclose the required information or makes incorrect statements, whether such statements or omissions were fraudulent or not, is obliged by law to return any amount of public assistance that she/he has received so far to the Social Welfare Service Department. Any person who make a false statement or representation or hide any information in order to obtain public assistance benefit for himself or anyone else, is guilty of an offense and is liable to a fine and /or imprisonment for a period of up to three months.

Any amount of public assistance that was paid to a beneficiary by mistake or as a result of fraud must be returned to the State or else it can be recovered from the property or from the dependents of persons who are in life.