I am a refugee, what are my social rights ?

You are recognised as refugéé or you have the subsidiary protection, what are your rights?

The health insurance (La Couverture maladie)

There are two things you do need to know about the health insurancesystem in France: the obliatory part of the health insurance that every body who lives in France (leagally) have the right. It is called the general health insurance scheme (le régime obligatoire) ; and the additional health insurance (la complémentaire santé solidaire (CSS)) that is given to people with low income in adition to the obligatory part of the insuranec.

In France, the Social security system provides with a basic health protection to refugees and people under the subsidiary protection. This obligatory general health insurance scheme covers 75% of your health expenses. To cover the rest 25% of the médical expenses either you need to subscribe to a private insurance company OR if you have very low income, you can ask the social security for the CSS that will cover the rest 25% of your health expenses. Therefore, if you bénéfit from the CSS, the social security will take the total chage of your health expences.

If you have already benefited from the CSS during your asylum application, you can just apply for the renewal of your right (You should apply at least 2 month befor the expiry of your CSS) . If your financial ressources for the 12 last months do not exceed 9041 €, the CSS is free. If you your las 12 months’ incomme falls between 9041 and 12 205 €, you will have to pay an small amount every month to get the CSS (in this case it is called- CSS with participation) (for more information check out the social security website site Ameli).

For people who have a job, the company you work for has the obligation to offer you an insurance (mutuelle), that means a complémentaire santé, that takes care of at least 50% of the contributions.

The process of granting the health insurance could take some time. Meanwhile, if you need to see a doctor you can consult the PASS Services of a public hospital. In case of imergency, if you go to a hispital, it is very important to inform the hospital that you have not yet got the ‘health insurance’. It can avoid to pay a heavy hospital charges.

The Accomodation

If you were hosted in a CADA ( welcome centre for asylum seekers), you must leave your accomodation as the latest 6 months after having received the consent decision of the OFPRA/CNDA, that officialy confirms you benefit from a protection.

As a beneficiary of an international protection, you have the right to get a housing, either in the private housing stock or social housing.

Regarding the private accomodations, the owner freely chooses the tenant (non-owner resident). An owner (or a rental agency) will request your pay slips to check out your financial situation in order to make sure you would have the capacity to pay the rent. If you have low incomes, it will be complicated to find out a housing quickly, especially in Ile-de-France where there are many requests.

Social housings are handled by organizations and are intended for people who receive low ressources (have a look at the ressources ceiling” in Paris, Ile-de-France and other regions (plafonds de ressources). You can request a social accomodation in writing, by filling up the CERFA form or online : https://www.demande-logement-social.gouv.fr/index

The conditions to access to a social accomodation are :

to respect the ressources ceiling required; to possess a proof of identity (or a valid residence permit); to have a valid post address; to have the ability to provide your last tax assessment.

Beware, most of the time, it takes a while before accessing to a social housing. Do think about renewing your social housing claim each year. If the waiting period is unusually long, you can be helped by an association, to make use of your right to get a housing (enforceable right to housing), DALO.

If you are in a wandering situation, you can try to get offered a urgent accomodation and especially a place within a temporary housing centre called CPH (Centre provisoire d’Hébergement). For that, you must call many times the 115 phone number (the call is not charged). Beware, the waiting can be long as there are many claims.

There are some associations that put refugee people in contact with citizens who would like to host (without any financial compensation), for a more or less long period. This is called the solidary housing.

The work

As soon as you obtain your first receipt confirming your refugee status (or beneficiary of subsidiary protection status), you have the right to work, just like the French citizen do.

You can susbscribe at Pôle Emploi and be helped by a councillor for your job search.

Beware, whatever if you worked or not, you absolutely must declare your taxations every year. Indeed, a tax assessment can be required to assert your rights.


Financial Aid

The Welfare office – La CAF

The Welfare offices / Les Caisses d’Allocations Familiales (CAF), are present in every French departments aesd are handled to give financial allocations for family or social characteristics in order to avoid that some people who find themselves in a position of insecurity.

As a beneficiary of an international protection, you have the ability to claim those financiary assistances under certain conditions. Find below the main assistances you can be eligible for :

The Tax Credits – Le Revenu de Solidarité Active (RSA

If you are more than 25 years old (or less than 25y.o ( or if you have a child to support), that you are impoverished ou your ressources are low (less than 1684 during the last 3 months), the RSA will complete your ressources in order to guarantee a minimum wage. The given aid is 564 a month for a single person. The amount is higher if you have one or many children to support (see the fixed amounts chart).

Beware, to keep benefiting from the RSA, you must update your situation at the CAF every 3 months. Then, you always have to reply to the posts you receive from CAF.

The Activity bonus – La Prime d’activité :

If you carry out a professional activity (salaried or independant) and that your ressources are low, the Activity bonus will complete your job incomes. The amount depends on your ressources and those of the home members.

Beware, you have to declare your ressources every 3 months. The Activity Bonus will be given each month, as long as your ressources are compatible with the transfer.

The Family Allowances – Les allocations familliales (AF) :

You receive family allocations from your second child you do support. The monthly amount of family allowances depend on the number of children you support at home and also on the rate of your ressources (check out the amount chart in French)

Housing financial assistances – Les aides au logement :

If you pay a rent and your ressources are low, you have the ability to benefit from one of the three housing assistances following : individualized aid for housing (Aide Personnalisée au Logement, APL), the family accomodation allowance (Allocation de logement familial, ALF) or the Social Accomodation Allowance (Allocation de logement social, ALS)

(see the ressources conditions in French).

There are other financiary assistances (for instance : allowances for disabled adults and children…), we have only introduced the most famous allowances previously. You can get in touch with an association or a social worker to be aware of other allowances that exist and that you could be eligible for. All the allowances are detailed on the CAF website.

Pôle emploi :

If you unintentionaly end up jobless (non renewal of a CDD, dismissal or mutually agreed termination contract) and that you have worked at least for 6 months during the last 24 months to the deadline of your work contract, you can benefit from the unemployment allowance to help the return to work (allocation au chômage d’aide au retour à l’emploi). The amount of the allowance will depend on the amount of your last salary (it represents on average 75 % of a monthly net salary).

To subscribe to Pôle Emploi and benefit from your allowance, you need to go to the closest agency (Pôle Emploi agencies list) or to subscribe online.

For the registration, you will have to submit the whole of your pay slips and a certificate from your employer that confirms the end of your previous contract. You will be then asked to attend for your first appointment, your presence is unavoidable. You will have the possibility to be helped by a councillor at Pôle Emploi for your professional integration, and also to receive employment offers.

Beware, to keep benefiting from your allowance, you will have to prove to Pôle Emploi that you look for a job. It is possible that you will be periodically asked to attend. Do not miss up those appointments et do think to keep the proves of job searchs (CV and covering letter…)


In most of the regions, people who have little ressources have the right to benefit from a discount of at least 50 % off on their tickets or card. Make inquiries to associations, a social worker or a transport agency available in the region/ city you live in.

In Ile-de-France :

If you live in the region of Ile-de-France, you can benefit from a 75 % off discount on your Navigo package or free transports if you are : a beneficiary of the Complémentaire Santé solidaire (CSS) without financial involvement ; unemployed who have the Allocation de Solidarité Spécifique ; or beneficiary of the RSA, under certain ressources conditions

(see the specific conditions on the website of the Solidarité Transport).

To claim a discount, you do need to possess the certificate required according to your individual situation and claim a free Navigo pass to a RATP Agency. As soon as you get it, you need to request the discount to the solidarité transport agency, by phone : 0800948999 or online : http://www.solidaritetransport.fr/

The Bank account

You do have the right to open up a bank account, and especially a current account, in any bank. To do so, you just need to show a proof of identity and a proof of address or a domiciliation certificate.

In France, the opening of a bank account is a right. Whether a bank decline your right, claim the bank to make you a « lettre de refus » and get in touch then with an association to be helped.

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