Welfare benefits in Croatia
Who can access social welfare?
State funded entitlements within the social welfare system in Croatia can be granted to:
- Croatian citizen with residence in Croatia,
- foreigner with permanent residence in Croatia,
- person granted international protection and members of his/her family legally residing in Croatia.
Social welfare system can offer social assistance in form of financial benefits and social services for persons in need.
What kind of social assistance is provided?
If you are a person granted international protection and you have no income which you can use to cover your living costs, you (and your family, if they have legal residence in Croatia) are entitled to two-year government funded housing (link to Housing).
You are also entitled to social assistance in form of financial aid if:
- you do not have enough means to cover your living needs, and
- you are unable to support yourself through work or income from property or other sources.
There are two main types of social assistance benefits:
- Guaranteed minimum benefit
If you are single or living with your family and you have no income which you can use to cover your costs of living, you are entitled to guaranteed minimum benefit. You will receive guarantied minimum benefit monthly, as long as you meet the conditions.
Guaranteed minimum benefit if you are single:
|Single person incapable for work||920,00 kuna (121 EUR)|
|Single person capable for work and single parent||800.00 kuna (105 EUR)|
Guaranteed minimum benefit for family are calculated like this (amounts are added for each member of the household):
|Adult||480.00 kuna (63.00 EUR)|
|Child (up to 18 years of age)||320.00 kuna (EUR 42.00 EUR)|
|Lone parent||800.00 kuna (105.00 EUR)|
|Child of a lone parent or one-parent family||440,00 kuna (58 EUR)|
- One-time assistance
One-time assistance is provided to a single person or a family at the time they have extraordinary costs. For example, it may be granted for the birth of a child, a child’s education, illness or death of a family member, natural disaster, buying basic household items, essential clothes and footwear.
For an individual, the highest amount is 2 500.00 kuna (EUR 327.00), and for a household it is 3 500.00 kuna (EUR 458.00). In exceptional circumstances, one-time assistance of up to 10.000.00 kuna (EUR 1 309.00) may be granted but only with the consent of the Ministry in charge of social policies.
When your right to government-funded housing expires and if you have no income which you can use to cover your costs of living, apart from guaranteed minimum benefit and one-time assistance you and your family may also receive others types of financial assistance to help you cover housing costs (see more about Social assistance in Croatia file:///D:/Downloads/missoc-ssg-HR-2017-en.pdf)
How to apply?
Social welfare centres in your place of residence are in charge of granting you social assistance aid and other welfare benefits. You will need to fill in certain forms and submit documents as a proof you meet the criteria to receive financial or other assistance and benefit (for example, the confirmation that you are registered with Employment Service).
You need to be registered at Croatian Employment Service to apply for guaranteed minimum benefit, unless you are unable to work due to disability. If you are able to work you are required to accept a job offered by the Croatian Employment Service.
What other social services for people in need are there?
Social services for people in need are granted through Social Welfare Centres to vulnerable persons who do not have sufficient means to cover their basic living needs, for example:
- elderly persons not being able to take care of themselves
- children and adults with disability
- families in risk of social exclusion
State funded social services for people in need are:
- home assistance – involves buying and home delivery of ready-made meals, carrying out of household tasks, help with getting dressed and undressed, bathing and other hygiene needs. This service is usually granted to elderly persons or persons with disability.
- residential care – institutional care in a social care home or non-institutional care in a foster home. This social service is usually provided to children and adults with disability and to children without adequate parental care.
- semi-residential care – full-day stay and half-day stay in social care home which includes the following services: food, personal hygiene, health care, supervision, education, nursing, work activities and psychosocial rehabilitation.
- organised living service – recipients are offered permanent or occasional assistance by qualified staff or other people at home they live in and outside it. This social service is usually provided to children and adults with disability and to children without adequate parental care.
- early intervention – includes professional assistance to children and professional and advisory assistance to parents and foster parents. It is offered to a child with developmental disabilities at an early age.
As a foreigner you may be entitled to social services for people in need if:
- you are person granted international protection,
- you are members of family of person granted international protection and you have legal residence in Croatia,
- you are foreigner with permanent residence in Croatia
You are entitled to some of these services if your income or income per member of your family does not exceed 1 500.00 kuna (EUR 196.00)
Social security system in Croatia
What does the social insurance system in Croatia consist of?
The social insurance in Croatia consist of health, pension, unemployment and work accident insurance, as well as maternity and family benefits.
How is the health insurance in Croatia organized?
Basic health insurance is part of the social insurance system in Croatia. Basic health insurance in Croatia is mandatory for all citizens with a permanent residence in Croatia and foreign nationals with permanent residence status.
Compulsory basic health insurance in Croatia is solidary. This means that all employed citizens and their employers pay health care contributions from each salary. Self-employed workers in Croatia are also obligated to pay health insurance contributions. Unemployed persons, children, retired and vulnerable persons benefit from basic health insurance, without having to pay the contribution.
Basic health insurance covers costs of general and urgent healthcare services and examinations, treatment in case of workplace injury and profession-related illness, compensation for loss of pay during sick leave, maternity or paternity leave, and transport costs linked to the use of health services. Services that are not covered by basic health insurance are covered by complementary health insurance or person needs to pay the cost him/her self.
If you are a person granted international protection, you will have compulsory basic health insurance only if you are employed or self-employed and pay monthly health care contributions.
However, you are entitled to health care services same as Croatian citizen or other person covered with compulsory health insurance. For more information see Chapter Healthcare (link).
What is pension insurance?
Pension is a monthly financial benefit you can receive in your old age or if you lose the ability to work. You are entitled to pension if you were employed for certain number of years in Croatia and if you and your employer have paid the taxes for pension insurance.
Pension insurance system in Croatia has three pillars:
- compulsory public pension insurance based on Pay-as-you-go financing
- compulsory pension insurance based on individual savings in one of the private pension funds
- voluntary pension insurance based on individual savings in one of the private pension funds
Contribution for pension insurance are deducted from your gross salary. See more about salaries and taxes in Chapter Employment (link)
There are three types of pensions:
- Old age pension
- Disability pension
- Family pension
For old age pension – currently you need to be 65 years of age and paying pension insurance contribution for minimum 15 years. Women are entitled to the old age pension with 61 years of age. The age limit for getting retired increases, as in other EU countries.
Disability pension – if you partially or fully lose your ability to work due to illness, work injury or injury unrelated to your work, or occupational disease you may be entitled to disability pension.
Family pension – if person who has pension insurance dies, his/her family members will receive his/her pension rate under certain conditions.
Further information & links
- Social welfare centres (link)
- Social security rights in Croatia
- Maternity/paternity benefits
- Child benefit http://ec.europa.eu/social/main.jsp?catId=1104&langId=en&intPageId=4453
- Other family benefits http://ec.europa.eu/social/main.jsp?catId=1104&langId=en&intPageId=4455
- Pension System in Croatia http://www.regos.hr/default.aspx?id=208
How can I obtain welfare benefits as an asylum seeker?
As an asylum seeker, you do not have the right to a full scope of social welfare benefits. However, you will receive accommodation (link to Housing), food and clothing and have rights to free public transportation, health protection (link to Health), primary and secondary education (link to Education) and legal assistance free of charge (link to Legal aid). You will also receive a pocket allowance of 100 kuna (around 13 EUR) monthly while you are accommodated in reception centre.
How can I obtain welfare benefits if I am granted international protection?
Social welfare system entitlements can be claimed through social welfare centres in your place of residence. In certain cases, entitlements are paid by a unit of local government or the City of Zagreb, in cooperation with social welfare centres.
The forms you need to fill in will be given to you in your social welfare centre. You will need to submit documents to prove you meet the criteria for social assistance and other welfare benefits.
Am I eligible for unemployment benefits?
If you lose your job in Croatia you can apply for unemployment benefits and receive temporary monthly unemployment fee. Find the criteria you need to meet for unemployment benefit in Chapter Employment (link)
What welfare and social security benefits are there for people with disabilities?
There are different forms of disability. Some people have physical or sensory impairment. For example, they are blind, deaf or unable to walk and need a wheelchair. Other people have mental disability; they have mental health disorders or difficulties in learning.
Person with disability, who has legal residence in Croatia, can receive:
- personal disability allowance
- status of a parent caretaker or caretaker
- job-seeker benefit
- assistance and care supplement
- home assistance
- psychosocial support
- early intervention
- assistance with inclusion into programmes of upbringing and regular education (integration) for children
- temporary and long-term accommodation
- organized living
- day care
If you have a child with disability, there are a few additional benefits you can obtain as a parent:
- Work with half of regular worktime if you are employed,
- Paid childcare leave if you are employed;
- Increased child allowance.
What social welfare benefits are there for my family?
If you are person granted international protection, your family members with residence right in Croatia have equal access to social welfare benefits as you do.
Your family members with residence right in Croatia will not have compulsory basic health insurance, unless they are employed. However, each of your family member has the right to health care services same as a person with basic health insurance in Croatia.
What kind of social help can I get if I have no place to live?
If you are unable to continue paying the costs of living in the apartment or a house you were living in and you do not have any other place to go, there are some temporary options. If you have a residence right and valid ID card, your social welfare centre can offer you temporary accommodation in a shelter. Find more information in Chapter Housing (link).
If needed, your social welfare centre can provide you access to public kitchen or monthly food packages.