Legal basis: Act on Family Benefits of 28 November 2003 (Polish Journal of Laws of 2006, No. 139, item 992, as amended).
Family benefits in Poland are funded by the state budget and the eligibility depends on the concerned family’s actual financial situation.
Also families in very difficult health situation (where are disabled family members) shall be eligible for the benefits. Different from pension, for instance, the award of them is by no means dependent on whether the eligible person has been employed and insured. In some Member States however a certain employment, insurance, or residence history shall be required for awarding the benefits.
What family benefits are available in Poland?
I. Family allowance and family allowance supplements;
II. Attendance benefits: care allowance, special attendance allowance and care benefit;
III. Single payment birth grant.
I. Family allowance
The entitlement to family allowances and supplements is granted depending on the fulfilment of income criteria. It is granted if the average monthly income of a family or the income of a student does not exceed the sum of 539 PLN per person, or 623 PLN if one of the members of a family is a disabled child who holds a disability certificate or a certificate of moderate or severe disability. From 1 November 2014, the amount ofincome criteria which entitle to family benefits -will be increased to - 574 PLN per family or 664 PLN per person in a family where the child is disabled.
The family allowance is meant to contribute towards the costs of child subsistence.
The amount of family allowance provided varies and is subject to the age of a child. It is equal to:
The following shall be eligible for the allowance:
Parents, single parents or legal guardians, or actual guardians (a person who takes care of a child, provided that he/she has applied to a family court to adopt the child) are entitled to family allowances and supplements until a child is 18 years old or until he/she leaves education but only until he/she turns 21 years old, or, in case he/she continues education in a school or in a place of higher education and holds a certificate of moderate of severe disability, 24 years old.
The entitlement to a family allowance with supplements may be granted to a person in education (a person who has come of age and receives education in a school or a place of higher education, who is not a dependent child due to the death of his/her parents or due to a court decision or settlement relating to a maintenance allowance from parents in his/her favour), but not after he/she turns 24 years old.
The following supplements may be granted in addition to a family allowance:
1) a supplement in respect of a childbirth may be granted in the amount of PLN 1000 (one-time benefit). A supplement shall be granted if a woman had been placed under medical care from the 10th week of pregnancy at the latest. In the case of birth of more than one child at one birth, the grant shall be granted for each child. Application for the supplement following childbirthshall be submitted by the time the child reaches the age of one.
2) a supplement in respect of the child care during parental leave is available in the sum of PLN 400 per month.This supplement shall be granted to the person entitled to the parental leave not longer that for:
- 24 calendar months;
- 36 calendar months, if they take care over more than one child born at one birth;
- 72 calendar months, if they take care of a child with a disability certificate or a certificate of high level of disability.
The supplement shall not be awarded, if:
- prior to acquiring the right to the parental leave you had worked shorter than 6 months,
- the person receives the maternity leave during your parental leave.
- the person had taken up or continued employment or other gainful activity that made it possible for the person to take care of the child during parental leave;
- the child was placed in an institution providing round-the-clock maintenance, such as special school and education centre, with the exception of the entity running treatment activity, and is subject to the round-the-clock care provided there for more than 5 days a week, as well as in other cases of ceasing personal care over the child;
3) a supplement in respect of bringing up the child as a single parentis granted for a single parent shall be granted to a single mother or father, a single actual caretaker or legal custodian of a child, if maintenance payments were not awarded for the child from the other parent since;
A supplement in respect of bringing up the child as a single parent shall amount to PLN 170 amonth for a child, however, not more than PLN 340.00 for all children or PLN 250 (not more than PLN 500) if the child is disabled.
4) a supplement in respect of bringing up a child in a large family shall be granted to a mother or a father, an actual guardian or a legal custodian of a child the third and the following children entitled to the family allowance. The amount of the supplementary allowance is PLN 80 per month (e.g. in the birth of triplets, the supplement will be granted).
5) a supplement in respect of education and rehabilitation of a disabled child;
- PLN 60 for the child until completion of 5 year of age, PLN 80 for the child older between completion of 5 and 24 years of age. It shall be paid by the relevant gmina (communes).
6) a supplement in respect of starting education in a school outside of the place of residence
PLN 90 (if the child lives in a locality, where the school is located), PLN 50 (if the child commutes to a school in a locality other than that of the child’s residence), to be paid by the gmina (commune), for 10 months – since September until June.|
7) a supplement in respect of the start of a school year - is granted as one-off payment per school year in the amount of PLN 100 per child.
Principles regulating the application for the family benefits.
The award of the right to the family benefits is made and the benefits are paid upon request.An application for the award of the right to the family benefits should be filed in an entity responsible for the payment of the family benefits in a gmina of an applicant’s place of residence.The family benefits are usually executed by a competent authority which is a voit, mayor or a president of a city of an applicant’s place of residence. An organisational unit of a gmina e.g. a social support centre can be entrusted with the execution of the family benefits. The application forms and forms of other documents necessary to the award of the right to the benefits are made available by an entity executing the family benefits.
In order to be granted it you must submit:
· abbreviated copy of the child’s birth certificate,
· certificate of the child’s disability, if any such child is in the family,
· certificate of the child’s school enrolment, if the child is older than 18.
· certificate of the family’s income,
· certificate of the farm area issued by the competent gmina (commune),
· alimony documentation, if the family members have been obliged
· by a court verdict to pay the alimony to someone outside the family,
·copy of the parents’ death certificate or copy of a duplicate of the sentence to the effect of alimony adjudication with respect to a learning person,
·copy of duplicate of the final court judgement to the effect of adjudication of divorce or limited divorce, or copy of the spouse or child parent’s death certificate with respect of a person bringing up the child as a single parent
II. Attendance benefits
Care benefits due to resigning of an employment or any other gainful activityin the amount of PLN 520 per month (from 1 July 2013 will be increased to 620 PLN) shall be granted to:
- if they do not take up employment or abandon employment or other gainful activity in order to provide care for a person with a certificate of high level of disability or a disability certificate, including the requirements of: constant and long-term care or assistance of another person due to highly reduced capacity to independent life, as well as constant every day involvement of a child’s caretaker in the process of treatment, rehabilitation and education of the child.
Care benefit shall be granted if disability of a person requiring care incurred:
The right to care benefit is granted regardless of the income criterion.
Special attendance allowance (in the amount of 520 PLN per month) shall be granted to persons charged, in accordance with the provisions of the Act of 25 February 1964 – Family and Guardianship Code (Dz.U. of 2012, item 788 and 1529), with the maintenance obligation if they give up employment or other gainful activity due to the necessity to provide constant care for a person with a certificate of high level of disability or a disability certificate including the requirements of: constant and long-term care or assistance of another person due to highly reduced capacity to independent life, as well as constant every day involvement of a child’s caretaker in the process of treatment, rehabilitation and education of the child.
Special care allowance is granted if the combined income the family of the person who providing care, and family of the person who in need of care, does not exceed 623 PLN net per person in the family.
Care allowance (in the amount of 153 PLN per month)shall be granted to:
Care allowance shall not be granted to a person entitled to nursing allowance.
The right to care allowance is granted regardless of the income criterion.
III. Single payment birth grant
A single payment in the amount of PLN 1000 for a child shall be granted on the occasion of the birth of a living child.The single payment birth grant shall be granted to a mother or a father of a child, to a legal custodian or an actual guardians of a child if the family income per person does not exceed the amount of PLN 1922. The shall be granted if a woman had been placed under medical care from the 10th week of pregnancy at the latest. In the case of birth of more than one child at one birth, the grant shall be granted for each child.
The application for the single payment birth grant shall be submitted within 12 months from the date of the child’s birth. In the case of a child under legal custody or actual guardians or in the case of an adopted child – it shall be submitted within 12 months from the date of providing care for the child or from the date of its adoption not later than by the time the child reaches the age of 18 years old. The application submitted after the deadline shall not be considered by the competent authority.
Decisions with respect of the family benefits in coordination of social security systems shall be taken by the voivodeship (regional) marshal. The marshal shall receive claims, provide information, considers complaints, co-operates with institutions responsible for the family benefits in other Member States.
Some Member States make the family benefit award dependant on the history of the claimant’s previous employment, insurance, or residence in the Member State territory. Because this would practically render difficult the free movement of persons, which is one of the fundamental rights in the EU, a superior Community provision has been adopted, according to which the family benefits should be granted even where the entitled person lives in the territory of a State other than that obliged to pay the benefits.
The rule of free movement of persons provides the Member States’ nationals and their families with an option to leave for another EU or EEO Member State for good or for some time and retain their rights to the family benefits. Also when your family resides in a State other than that, where you work and which has awarded the benefits. For instance your children live in Poland, while you work in France. If such option was not available, your children would have to live with you, which is not always feasible.
Export” of benefits from one Member State to another is enable by so called “residence requirement neutralisation”. Owing to it, a person employed or self-employed, who is subject to the regulations of France, for instance, shall be entitled to receive French family benefits in aid of his or her family that lives in Poland, for instance, as though the family lived in France. This also concerns an unemployed person, who has worked and became unemployed in France and now lives with his or her family in Poland, for instance.
Under such circumstances the benefits shall be paid by bank transfer, cheque, or postal money transfer. The family concerned shall receive the benefits in the currency of the country of their residence.