Finance – How Ukrainian refugees get social benefits – Economy

BERLIN (dpa/tmn) – Even if grocery shopping is hard: Ukrainian refugees in Germany currently can’t do much with their local currency. You can’t pay with the hryvnia here, and the euro exchange prospects aren’t particularly rosy. Therefore, assistance can be a social benefit that refugees deserve. But how is it submitted? Experts explain.

What support services are Ukrainian refugees in Germany entitled to?

If there is a need, all those seeking protection who are registered in Germany are entitled to support under the Asylum Seekers Act. Services include food, lodging, participation in education, and medical care.

How and where can they confirm these claims?

“This requires registration, for example at reception facilities or immigration authorities,” the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) wrote on its website. After registration, Ukrainian refugees receive a certificate that they can submit to the responsible social welfare office to confirm their claims.

As a rule, the social welfare office of the municipality in which the refugees wish to stay is responsible. The office calculates how high the amounts are in individual cases.

How are support payments made? Do you need a German bank account?

A German bank account is not mandatory. According to BAMF information, benefits can also be provided in kind, for example by providing accommodation or clothing. Social benefits can also be paid in cash or cash cheques, says Andrea Kothen of the human rights organization Pro Asyl.

However, Ukrainian refugees can easily open an account in any bank in Germany. According to the German Banking Association (BdB), every consumer legally residing in the European Union is entitled to a so-called basic account. According to Sylvie Ernault, a basic account basically offers the same options as a checking account so you can participate in payment transactions.

Important difference: Banks may only refuse an application for a basic account for a good reason, for example if the necessary application documents are missing.

“To open an account, all you have to do is provide a mailing address,” says Sylvie Ernault. Here it is enough to be available through relatives, friends or a counseling center. Private residency is not required. Applicants must also identify themselves with a document recognized in Germany for opening. These include, for example, a Ukrainian passport or identity card.

How long does it take from submitting the application to paying the first return from the Social Welfare Office?

“If it’s urgent, the authorities should make a down payment for one to two weeks,” Andrea Kothin says. However, resolution can also be expected quickly.

Do Ukrainian debit cards work in Germany?

According to Ernault, cards intended only for the Ukrainian domestic market do not work in Germany.

With their cards that can be used internationally, Ukrainians can also pay in Germany and withdraw money from ATMs, says Ernault. However, this only works as long as the Ukrainian bank allows the transaction. BdB spokeswoman Ernault says that if the bank is no longer able to process due to the current situation, the transaction will not take place.

Are Ukrainian refugees allowed to work in Germany?

Once Ukrainian refugees receive a temporary residence permit (a fictitious certificate) with “allowance to work,” they may be employed or work independently, the BAMF reports. Income from work reduces the amount of social benefits.

To whom can refugees turn if they have problems dealing with the authorities, for example because of communication?

“To local advice centers and initiatives,” advises Andrea Cothen. These may be in contact with volunteers or may use translation services. There is mediation, for example, with state councils for refugees.

© dpa-infocom, dpa: 220321-99-613031 / 2

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