After Russia attacked Ukraine, thousands of Ukrainians fleeing death arrived in Lithuania. In Lithuania, as in other EU countries, they will be granted temporary protection. This status is usually granted for a year and can be extended for another year. However, in Lithuania, people who have obtained this status could only receive social benefits and compensation for heat or water if they were poor, but nothing more, Eglė Samoškaitė writes in tv3.lt.
Lithuania has decided to give Ukrainians practically everything they have as Lithuanian citizens. The Seimas approved the decision on Thursday. So what will become of the neighbours who have fled the war and have been granted temporary protection status?
According to the Ministry of Social Security and Labour, the victims will be able to benefit from a total of at least 20 different types of benefits, depending on the individual’s situation, as well as social integration measures for the disabled and social services in municipalities.
Mindaugas Lingė, Chairman of the Seimas Committee on Social Affairs and Labour, mentioned at the Seimas session that practically every 40 seconds, a new citizen who has fled Ukraine is registered in Lithuania and needs help immediately. However, he did not rule out the possibility of revisiting these issues, as the needs are constantly changing.
However, former Minister of Social Security Linas Kukuraitis suggested that accommodation for the incoming Ukrainians should already be considered, as the places offered by volunteers would not be sufficient.
“The challenges are growing very fast, and simply levelling the playing field is probably no longer sufficient. We now need to have systemic solutions to the housing challenge because this voluntary admission is only a temporary solution. If the war in Ukraine drags on for much longer, we will have to find ways to accommodate those who are fleeing and those who have already arrived sustainably.
There is a lack of systemic solutions to housing, and we know that employment challenges are on the table, but they are not on the table yet. The education and health challenges are also thinking about all the optimisation plans that are in this spring session, so they probably need to be reviewed and solutions found in the light of the changed situation,” the politician said.
Benefits and child support
Just like children of Lithuanian citizens or permanent residents, the offspring of Ukrainians who have received temporary protection will be able to receive child money. This will be accompanied by an additional allowance if there are three or more children in the family, if the child is disabled or if the family is underprivileged.
In Lithuania, the child’s money amounts to EUR 73.5 and is paid to children until they reach the age of majority, but can also be paid until they reach the age of 23, but only if the young person is studying in a general education programme. This is usually either at school or at a vocational school.
The supplementary allowance for a disabled child or a child from a large or deprived family is EUR 43.26. Similar to the child’s allowance, the supplementary allowance is paid until the age of majority but may be paid until the age of 23 if the person is in general education.
A large family is considered to have three or more children. They may be biological, adopted or fostered. It does not matter.
A family is considered to be non-deprived if its monthly income per family member does not exceed EUR 258. Still, part of the income is not included in the calculation, so it is always worth checking with the municipality to see if the family is entitled to a supplement to the child’s money.
If the family is neither rich nor poor but has two children, one of whom has a disability, only the disabled child will get the extra allowance or the higher child’s money.
If the family is not wealthy, then the child may receive free school meals and a once-a-year grant to buy school supplies. This amounts to EUR 84. However, in this case, a family is considered to be deprived if its monthly income per family member does not exceed EUR 193.5.
If the child is a pre-schooler, a first-grader or a second-grader, they will still be entitled to free meals, as all children of this age in Lithuania receive free meals.
As the majority of those who have left the hostilities are women with children, a monthly allowance of EUR 67.2 is also granted for the child’s education in kindergarten or pre-school class. It is paid for half a year from the date of obtaining the status.
If the child were born in Lithuania
There may be situations when a woman from war-affected Ukraine arrives in Lithuania with a child or becomes pregnant in Lithuania. Then, she will be entitled to a one-off payment of EUR 270 before giving birth. It is paid 70 calendar days before the due date.
After the child’s birth, the woman will receive a lump-sum birth grant of EUR 462. This is like a baby’s dowry but in the form of money.
If twins, thirteens or more are born simultaneously, they will receive a periodic monthly payment until they are two years old. If twins are born, the payment would be EUR 168 a month. If triplets are born, EUR 336 and so on.
And if the child is born while mum or dad is studying, or 12 months into their studies, then the parent who is studying would receive EUR 252 a month until the child turns two.
You can study or study at a university on a full-time study programme, or at a doctorate, a residency or a vocational school on a vocational training programme, or at a school on a general education programme. The same would apply if people adopt or foster a child while they are studying, but only until the child reaches the age of two.
Foster children are also taken care of
There may be Ukrainian families in Lithuania who have been fostering Ukrainian children since they were living in their country or who have taken care of Ukrainian children in Lithuania.
In addition to the child’s allowance and a supplement, the foster children themselves receive a foster care allowance, which depends on age. The older the child, the higher the allowance. Therefore, a child up to the age of 6 is entitled to a monthly allowance of EUR 218. From 6 to 12 years, the child care allowance is already EUR 252, and from 12 to 18 years, the allowance is EUR 273 per month.
When we say “child under 6”, we mean that the child is under 6, “child under 12” means under 12 and “child under 18” means still a minor.
Caring families or individuals are also entitled to a targeted supplement of EUR 168 per month.
The fostering allowance and the targeted supplement are normally paid during the fostering period. Then, if the child grows up, the benefits are usually stopped. But suppose the young person is in education or training. In that case, he or she can receive the foster care allowance until the age of 24, and guardians can receive the targeted supplement if the young person is living with them, dependent on them, and in school, but only until the age of 23.
Those who are not wealthy off can receive allowances and compensations
Poor Ukrainians arriving in Lithuania can receive social benefits and compensation for heating and water costs.
Benefits are available if the average monthly income per person does not exceed EUR 141.9. The average income does not include child benefits or part of employment-related income. Depending on the composition of the family and the number of children, the amount of income excluded can range from 20 to 40%.
It is difficult to say exactly how much a person or a family is entitled to because it depends on their income, as people can work. But if there is no income, a single person would receive EUR 180.6 a month for the first six months of the year, two adults with one child would receive EUR 368.9, and one adult with three children would receive EUR 468.2 a month.
After that, the benefit for a single person would decrease, while the benefit for families with children would not. If people have an income, then the benefits decrease accordingly.
The amount of the heating allowance depends on income, the number of family members and the square footage of the dwelling, while the water allowance depends on income and the cost of water. These allowances are calculated according to the following formula.
Renters can also receive compensation, but they must conclude a rental contract and register it in the public register.
For example, if a single mother with two children lives in a 60 square metre flat and also works and earns EUR 1,060.1, the family will not have to pay for heating. However, as income rises, the compensation may decrease.
The compensation for drinking water is available when the cost of drinking water exceeds 2% of the person’s or family’s income. For example, a single person living on a monthly income of EUR 300 should pay no more than EUR 6 for drinking water. According to calculations by the Ministry of Social Security and Labour, the rest should be reimbursed.
Settlement allowance and rent compensation
It is also possible to get partial rent reimbursement, but conditions must be met. Firstly, there must be no housing in Lithuania, and if there is housing, it must be dilapidated or terribly small.
Secondly, you must rent the property and have a rental contract for at least one year and register it in the Real Estate Register. Thirdly, you need to stay within the income and asset limits. For example, the annual income of a person without a family cannot exceed EUR 13,600 and the assets EUR 16,600. For two or three persons, the annual income should not exceed EUR 19,000, and the assets should not exceed EUR 33,7 thousand.
And when you move in, you can get a lump sum, which is just for that purpose: for example, for essential furniture, household items, transport or similar. Of course, the size of this payment depends on the number of family members.
For a family of one or two people, the lump sum is EUR 516; for a family of three or four, it is EUR 774; for a family of five or six, it is EUR 903; and for a family of seven or more, it is EUR 1032.
A burial allowance and various pensions will be added
Ukrainians who have received temporary protection will receive a burial allowance of EUR 336 when a relative dies and can apply for it within one year of the death. But the person who actually buried the deceased receives the allowance.
There will also be a pension for seniors or children with disabilities and working-age people with disabilities.
In Lithuania, the old-age allowance is EUR 150. If a person receives a pension from Ukraine and it is less than EUR 150, Lithuania will pay a supplement. According to the explanatory note, the average pension in Ukraine is EUR 60. If the pensioner does not receive a pension from Ukraine, then they will simply receive a EUR 150 social security pension in Lithuania.
People with disabilities who come from Ukraine will also be able to receive a disability pension. In Lithuania, children’s disability pensions amount to EUR 150 for mild disabilities, EUR 225 for moderate disabilities and EUR 300 for severe disabilities.
Those who have lost their ability to work after the age of 24 receive a disability pension of EUR 150. The exact amount will be granted to people with disabilities fleeing the war.
Meanwhile, orphans will be able to receive an orphans’ pension. These amount to EUR 75 and are paid until the child reaches the age of majority, or longer if they are in general education, vocational training or university. But the orphan’s pension still ends at the age of 24.
When it is established that the disabled person needs nursing care or permanent care/assistance, targeted compensation is paid, which is higher the more severe the illness.
When the need for permanent care/assistance is assessed at level 2, which means about 3 hours of care per day, the target compensation is EUR 75.6.
In the case of a level 1 continuing care/assistance need, where the disabled person needs 4-5 hours of care from other persons per day, the allowance is EUR 138.6.
For level 2 care, where the disabled person needs 6-7 hours of care a day, the benefit is EUR 239.4.
And if the care is level 1, with 8 hours or more of care, then the benefit is EUR 327.6.
The politicians also allowed people to benefit from all social integration measures and social services for people with disabilities upon arrival.