Social welfare system

Social welfare is a public interest organised activity aimed at providing assistance to socially vulnerable persons, as well as persons in unfavourable personal or family circumstances

Social welfare covers prevention, assistance and support for individuals, families and groups, with the aim of enhancing their quality of life, stimulating changes and empowering beneficiaries, so as to help them get actively involved in community life.

Social welfare beneficiaries are:

  • single persons and households with insufficient means to meet their basic living needs, who are unable to ensure such means through work or income, from their maintenance debtors, or in any other way
  • parentless children or children without adequate parental care, children who are victims of domestic, peer or other violence, children who are victims of human trafficking, children of early and preschool age with a developmental challenge or a developmental risk, children with developmental disabilities, children with behavioural issues, unaccompanied children found away from their place of residence without the supervision of a parent or another adult responsible for taking care of the child, and children who are foreign nationals found in the territory of the Republic of Croatia without the supervision of a parent or another adult responsible for taking care of the child
  • young adults or young adults with behavioural issues
  • persons who were beneficiaries of the right to accommodation or organised housing services, and need to be provided housing for as long as the need persists, until they reach 26 years of age
  • pregnant women or parents with a child younger than one or, by way of exception, younger than three, without family support or adequate living conditions
  • families in need of professional help or other assistance due to dysfunctional relationships or other unfavourable circumstances
  • adults with disabilities who are unable to meet their basic living needs
  • adults who are victims of domestic violence, other types of violence or of human trafficking
  • persons unable to meet their basic living needs due to old age or illness
  • persons addicted to alcohol, drugs, gambling or having other addictions
  • homeless persons or
  • any other person who meets the conditions set out in the Act.

Pursuant to the Social Welfare Act, the social welfare system benefits are as follows:

  • guaranteed minimum benefit
  • housing allowance
  • allowance for vulnerable energy buyers
  • personal needs allowance
  • one-time allowance
  • allowance for funeral expenses
  • allowance for regular higher education
  • payment of costs for accommodation in a student dormitory
  • personal disability allowance
  • care and assistance allowance
  • status of a parent caregiver or status of a caregiver.

Decisions on the right to benefits and allowances from the social welfare system, apart from the decisions on the housing allowance and the payment of costs for accommodation in a student dormitory, are adopted by the Croatian Social Welfare Institute (hereinafter: the Institute).

Social welfare centres will cease their activities on 31 December 2022, passing them over to the Croatian Social Welfare Institute as of 1 January 2023.

Pursuant to the provisions of the Social Welfare Act and special acts, the relevant local self-government unit or the City of Zagreb decides on the recognition of the right to a housing allowance.

Social welfare activities are carried out by:

1) social welfare institutions
(a) the Institute
(b) family centres
(c) social welfare homes
(d) centres providing home attendance services
2) local and regional self-government units or the city of Zagreb
3) associations, religious communities, or other legal persons
4) natural persons as their profession or trade
5) foster families.

Social welfare services include:
  • initial social welfare service
  • comprehensive assessment and planning service
  • counselling
  • expert assessment
  • psychosocial counselling
  • social mentorship
  • family mediation
  • psychosocial treatment aimed at preventing abusive behaviour
  • psychosocial support
  • early development support
  • assistance for the purposes of inclusion in programmes of upbringing and regular education
  • home attendance services
  • day care
  • organised housing and
  • accommodation.

Addresses and phone numbers of social welfare centres and other service providers can be found on the website of the Ministry of Labour, Pension System, Family and Social Policy.