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Social assistance provides people in need and their families with access to goods and services that are adapted to their specific situation, in order to help them acquire or preserve their autonomy. This assistance may be palliative, curative, or preventive. It may be provided in the form of short-, medium-, or long-term social support and, where necessary, can include material aid in kind or in cash. Social assistance is a supplementary measure, and may be used to complement other social measures and financial aid provided for by other laws and regulations, which the recipient must first exhaust.
What services are offered?
- financial aid;
- goods (such as nappies, milk, furniture, or clothes);
- explaining to people their rights under the applicable laws and regulations;
- informing people about the administrative steps to be taken in light of their social situation and, if necessary, assisting them with these procedures (for example, applying for cost-of-living benefits, applying for additional benefits under the guaranteed minimum wage law ensuring income to persons whose pension rights are insufficient, or who lack other means, official declarations at the Bierger-Center, family allowance benefits, parental leave, etc.);
- labels for use with the third-party payer system (tiers payant social - TPS)
- where applicable, registering the recipient with Social Security;
- if needed, preparing an assistance plan tailored to the recipient's situation;
- assisting the recipient in managing their finances;
- providing financial and/or material aid as an advance or a supplement;
- information and advice;
- guidance towards the specialised services that are best suited to the recipient's situation, especially in the event of an emergency (for example, finding housing or a day-care centre, conflicts between family or neighbours, alcohol and drug addiction, etc.).
- acting as an intermediary with third parties (for example, lawyers, court officers, Familljen-Center, psychiatrists, the National Office for Children [Office national de l'enfance], etc.); and
- supporting recipients until their individual situations have stabilised.
Protection of human dignity
As a human being, each person has the right to expect society to guarantee a minimum standard of living. The person receiving aid must be considered an active partner, rather than a passive subject of state or municipal intervention.
Social assistance is provided only if the person is unable to provide for their own needs, and if all other available sources of aid have been exhausted or prove insufficient. "Other source of aid" is defined as follows: family obligations, the various social security benefits and services, and possibly non-essential assets, to the extent that their sale is reasonably expedient. Social assistance is therefore the "last safety net of social solidarity".
Individual needs and tailored assistance
Services are provided in a manner that is tailored to each specific case, and must be consistent with both the objectives of social assistance and those of the person in question.
Meeting people's needs
Social assistance meets people's specific, present, individual needs, regardless of their cause.
From a material standpoint, recipients of social assistance services must be neither favoured nor discriminated against compared to people living in the same area in modest conditions without recourse to social assistance.
Social assistance is based on a precise assessment of the recipient's situation, the joint preparation of an action plan, and an offer of customised aid. In this way, material aid may be complemented by social support.
Who qualifies for this assistance?
Any person residing in the Grand Duchy has the right to this type of aid in accordance with the applicable legislation.
The following are excluded from material aid in cash:
- persons applying for international protection, who fall under a regime that is specific to their situation;
- persons who have obtained a residence permit further to a written undertaking by a third party to cover their needs;
- foreign students who move to the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg to pursue education or professional training;
- nationals of a European Union member state or of another state that is a member of the European Economic Area or the Swiss Confederation, and members of such persons' families (regardless of their nationality), during the first three months of their residency in Luxembourg, or during the period when they are seeking work, if they enter Luxembourg for that purpose. This exception does not apply to salaried or non-salaried workers, or to persons who retain this status, or to members of their families, whatever their nationality;
- persons residing temporarily in Luxembourg;
- persons who are subject to preventive detention measures or penalties depriving them of their liberty, except during the period of prison leave.
How to apply
Apply directly to the Office social (Social Welfare Office) of the City of Luxembourg
Who may apply
Individuals in need of assistance may contact the Office social directly. In addition, other institutions or bodies may also contact the Office social, such as hospitals and other social services, the police, the Agence pour le Développement de l'Emploi (National Employment Agency – ADEM), the Inter-Actions Service Surendettement (over-indebtedness information and consulting office), individuals, family, neighbours, etc.
Process and monitoring
At the first interview, the individual in need of assistance briefly explains their situation. After assessment, one or more applications are completed. In most cases, after a home visit and assessment, other problems and/or questions come up.
Together with the individual, a plan is put in place with short-and medium-term goals to re-establish and/or facilitate the individual's autonomy. The social assistant supports the individual to ensure the plan is carried out and that they permanently re-enter society.