Social assistance for Ukrainians: how we are going to help people fleeing war

After Russia attacked peaceful population of Ukraine, the Ukrainians fleeing war seek help not only in neighbouring countries, but also in Lithuania. The Ministry of Social Security and Labour offers support to foreigners who have received a temporary residence permit in Lithuania for humanitarian reasons. 

Assistance should also be available to those who have been granted such authorisation because they are unable to return to their country of origin due to being persecuted by a non-democratic regime or have suffered or are likely to suffer repression by that regime. Amendments to legal acts proposed by the Ministry will still have to be approved by the Government and the Seimas. 

“We are thinking of every person fleeing the horrors of the war in Ukraine. It is very important that the humanitarian aid mechanisms are activated as soon as the Ukrainians cross the Lithuanian border and all the necessary assistance reach the people. We plan that upon obtaining a temporary residence permit in Lithuania for humanitarian reasons, Ukrainians and their family members in Lithuania would be entitled to social assistance, which is particularly relevant until they are able to find a job and earn a living in Lithuania. They are provided with social assistance, one-off setting-up support, child benefits, care benefits, social assistance pensions, and targeted compensation for people with disabilities,” says Monika Navickienė, Minister of Social Security and Labour.

Minister Monika Navickienė underlines that there have been more than two hundred proposals from employers to employ people fleeing the Putin's war, so it is likely that a part of Ukrainians will successfully integrate into the labour market. “We have companies across Lithuania ready to accept Ukrainians and their family members and over 16 thousand registered vacancies in the Employment Service,” Ms Navickienė says. 

In order to reduce the social exclusion of Ukrainians fleeing the war, it is proposed to include foreigners who have a temporary residence permit in Lithuania for humanitarian reasons into the social assistance system. Ukrainians who have a temporary residence permit in Lithuania for humanitarian reasons could receive all child benefits (including child money, and foster care benefit for foster children), one-time accommodation support, compensation for a part of the housing rent, social benefits and other social payments.

There is a proposal to pay social assistance pensions to foreign nationals who have been fleeing from war, persecution or repressions and have temporarily settled in Lithuania. They will also be entitled to targeted compensations for care (assistance) and nursing costs. 

Those pensioners who live in Lithuania and receive pensions from Ukraine will also receive assistance. As a result of the hostilities, Ukraine will not be able to pay them pensions at this time. They will be receiving social security pensions until the situation has stabilised. The pensions paid by Ukraine are very low, with an average pension of EUR 60. As a result, the pay they receive is most of the time increased to the amount of the social security pension. The proposals will enable them to maintain their situation unchanged, but the payment of the pension will be ensured until Ukraine itself is able to resume the payment.

A simpler procedure for those wishing to provide foster care for Ukrainian children

It is proposed to establish the possibility to appoint, as soon as possible a representative for unaccompanied minors who come to Lithuania without their parents or other legal representatives. In accordance with the applicable legislation of our country, a person can only be appointed a child's guardian (curator) after his/her assessment, training, etc., which could take about 3 months.

Taking into account the fact that persons who have left Ukraine may come to Lithuania not only with their own children, but also, for example, with the children of a family of their friends, as well as the fact that there may be people in Lithuania who wish to take care of unaccompanied Ukrainian minors, it is proposed to provide for a reservation that in a state of war, a state of emergency, as well as when an emergency situation due to a mass influx of foreigners is declared, the guardianship (curatorship) of an unaccompanied minor shall be established in a simplified manner.