Like with health care, the options of receiving social assistance depend on your status in Latvia. Latvian laws prescribe that the right to receive social services and social assistance is enjoyed by:
· Latvian citizens and non-citizens,
· foreigners to whom a personal number has been allocated, except persons with temporary residence permits.
- +Social Assistance
The permanent residence permit grants the same scope of social assistance that the state and local governments provide for citizens. Foreigners with temporary residence permits have limited access to social assistance and have no access to the state-guaranteed social services, as well as legal and social aid, for example, social assistance and rehabilitation, a possibility to stay at an asylum or crisis centre, financial allowances for low-income persons.
Third-country nationals who legally work in Latvia may receive benefits related to social insurance contributions, but cannot receive benefits that are paid to Latvian citizens regardless of their social insurance contributions. Latvia has bilateral cooperation agreements with Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, the USA and Canada, which provide that the length of service accumulated by a foreigner in Latvia is transferred to the foreigner’s country of origin. This means that the social insurance contributions made by a foreigner in Latvia are also considered in the foreigner’s country of origin when calculating, e.g. the amount of the unemployment benefit.
6 types of benefits are available to a person legally employed in Latvia, i.e. an employee:
You may become an unemployed, if you have:
· a permanent residence permit,
· a temporary residence permit, but you are a spouse to a person who holds a permanent residence permit,
· a permanent residence permit related to granting of the status of a refugee or you are a family member of such person and hold a permanent residence pe rmit;
·a temporary residence permit related to granting of the status of temporary protection, the status of a victim of trafficking in human beings or performance of scientific activities;
· a temporary residence permit related to granting of the status of subsidiary protection or you are a family member of such person and hold a temporary residence permit;
· the European Union Blue Card, and you are staying in Latvia during the term of validity of such card.
The unemployed status is granted after registration at the State Employment Agency, if you:
· do not work (cannot be considered an employee or self-employed);
· are seeking employment;
· are able to work and immediately enter into employment relations;
· have reached the age of 15;
· have not reached the age that makes you eligible for the old-age pension or the state old-age pension (including early pension) has not been granted to you;
· have not enrolled for full-time studies within a basic education or secondary education programme;
· do not run a business or your business has been suspended according to laws and regulations;
· are not under full state care.
The unemployed may:
· receive assistance in seeking employment from the State Employment Agency,
· receive the unemployment benefit,
· receive a grant during the time of professional training, requalification and qualification improvement and acquisition of informal education,
· receive information on vacancies and the qualification and other requirements related thereto,
· receive career consultancy.
Types of state social benefits
Multiple payment social benefits:
- State family allowance
- Child care allowance
- Allowance for the maintenance of a child in custody
- Remuneration for the guardians duties
- Remuneration for the foster family duties
- Allowance for compensating transport costs for disabled persons
- National Social Security Benefit
- Remuneration for the adopted child care
- Parental allowance for a child with disabilities
- Allowance for a person with disabilities who needs care
Single payment social benefits:
- +Governments Social Service Offices in Latvia
The procedure of receiving social services and social assistance is determined by local government councils, therefore the scope and the procedure of receiving social assistance may differ in different local governments. In addition, local governments provide social services exclusively on the basis of assessment of the individual needs and resources of the person carried out by social work experts.
To receive social assistance from the local government you have to address an application to the social service of the local government or the social work expert of the local government in which you have your declared place of residence. The social work expert will assess your or your family’s individual needs and available resources together with you and will agree on the most suitable type of assistance.
Like with health care services, the state and local governments ensure social services either at the person’s place of residence or as close to it as possible. Where such scope of services is not sufficient, social care and social rehabilitation is provided in a long-term care and social rehabilitation institution. Since social services are provided by the local government, the local government within whose territory the person has registered his/her place of residence, is obliged to provide the person with the possibility to receive social services and social assistance that suits the needs of the person.
The social service provides social assistance and social services at the place of residence of any given individual. The social service is an institution established by the local government, which provides social assistance, organises and provides social services to inhabitants of the locality.Each local government in Latvia has a social service, which employs social workers. Meetings can be arranged with social workers at the social service office. Social workers will give advice, provide support and assistance in resolving social problems.
The Social Services and Social Assistance Law determines that the local government’s social service is obliged to provide information and consultancy in a manner understandable to the person. To clarify the specific social services and the scope thereof available in each particular case you have to contact your local government’s social service or the State Social Insurance Agency (SSIA). Information on social services is available on the SSIA homepage under the section “Contacts” where telephone numbers and electronic mail addresses of all regional divisions of SSIA are indicated.
Contact information of local governments social service offices in Latvia has been gathered here, so that one may learn, what social assistance and social services each local government offers.