Social assistance for asylum seekers, provisionally admitted persons and those in need of protection

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The cantons are responsible for granting social assistance to asylum seekers and provisionally admitted persons1). The Federal Government reimburses the cantons for the costs for all asylum seekers and for those provisionally admitted persons who have been in Switzerland for less than 7 years. In 2009, the cantons receive 54.30 Swiss francs per day (Swiss average) for each asylum seeker or provisionally admitted person in need of social assistance. The cantons use this lump sum to finance all their expenses for accommodation, mandatory sickness insurance and any other necessary medical treatment such as costs for dental treatment.

The payment of social assistance is made either by the canton, the communal authorities or by mandated third parties. Individual asylum seekers are partly accommodated in collective housing, partly in individual apartments. Families usually live in apartments. Further support should be granted as far as possible in kind, as opposed to cash handouts. If this is not possible or practical, it is granted as financial aid.

The assistance paid to Asylum seekers and provisionally admitted persons in need is generally approximately 20 percent lower than the one paid to Swiss recipients of Social assistance. This amounts to an approximate average of 1200 Swiss francs per person each month for accommodation, food, toiletries and household articles, clothing, pocket money, health insurance and care costs.

The Federal Government contributes to the costs incurred by the cantons for the integration of provisionally admitted persons.

 
1) The status «Persons in need of protection» was introduced during the complete revision of the Asylum Act in 1999. Since then, this status has never been granted to a group of persons.