Soon the first reference period of the Polish child benefit called ‘Rodzina 500 plus‘ will be over and families will apply for it again. Now’s a good moment to describe how it works and to explain when you can apply for this Polish child benefit as a foreigner.
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What is ‘Rodzina 500 plus’?
‘Rodzina 500 plus‘ is a family benefit in Poland. You can apply for it when you’re a mother, father or a guardian of a minor child. You obtain it:
…always when you have a minimum of two minor children…
Every month families with a minimum of two under-aged children receive 500 PLN for their second and next children.
Example 1: When you have two children aged 13 and 11, you will receive 500 PLN monthly.
Example 2: When you have three children aged 12, 10 and 8, you will receive 1000 PLN monthly.
…or when your income is below 800 PLN
In some cases families are entitled to draw a benefit even if they have only one under-aged child. It’s possible when the monthly income per capita in the family does not exceed:
- 1200 PLN net – when a family has a disabled child
- 800 PLN net – in all other cases
When you have more children and your income is below 800 PLN net, you will receive money for all your children, including the first one.
Example 3: When you have a single child aged 10 and your family income per capita is below 800 PLN net, you will receive 500 PLN monthly.
Example 4: When you have two children aged 13 and 11 and your family income per capita is below 800 PLN net, you will receive 1000 PLN monthly.
Also check out: Cost of living in Poland according to the official statistics.
The benefit is not taxed
Since the benefit is not taxed, you will receive 500 PLN straight. That is 6 000 PLN annually when one of your children qualifies for the benefit.
What is more, money from ‘Rodzina 500 plus’ won’t be included in your income when establishing your entitlement to other support systems: benefits from social assistance, alimony fund, family benefits, housing allowance and scholarships for students. There is no risk that money from ‘500 plus‘ will block the possibility of taking advantage of other forms of financial support.
‘500 plus’ for foreigners
You can apply for this Polish child benefit when you’re a Polish citizen or when you belong to one of four categories of foreigners that I’ve described below.
Both citizens and foreign residents must live in the territory of Poland for as long as they receive a child benefit, unless the existing regulations on the coordination of social security systems (category 1) or bilateral agreements (category 2) provide otherwise.
Category 1: coordination of social security systems
Some countries are subject to common regulation on the coordination of social security systems. You will have no problems applying for a Polish child benefit if you come from:
- Czech Republic
- United Kingdom
Category 2: bilateral agreements
You can apply for a Polish child benefit when you’re a citizen of one of countries that signed special bilateral agreements with Poland:
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- United States
- South Korea
Category 3: EU blue card holders
No matter which country of origin from above, you are entitled to apply for a child benefit when you have a residence permit for work in a profession requiring high qualifications.
Category 4: access to the Polish labor market
If you don’t belong to any of the three categories, please take a look at your stay card. If you have the annotation “DOSTĘP DO RYNKU PRACY” (Access to the labour market) there, then you are entitled to a Polish child benefit unless you’re a non-EU citizen who has:
- obtained a work permit for no longer than 6 months
- obtained a residence permit for studies
- been working in Poland on the basis of a visa
If you don’t belong to any of these three groups and you have the annotation, you shouldn’t have any problems applying for a benefit.
When there is no annotation
Stay cards confirming temporary residence, permanent residence or long-term EU residence permits for a foreigner who either has a work permit or doesn’t need one should contain the annotation “Dostęp do rynku pracy“.
People staying in Poland on the basis of their refugee status, subsidiary protection or consent for stay issued due to humanitarian reasons won’t have this annotation.
If you’re allowed to work in Poland but you don’t have this annotation you still can receive a child benefit. However, those cases can be much more difficult and may require legal assistance – usually provided for free by official institutions. If that applies to you, contact me and I will let you know how to proceed.
Polish child benefit ‘500 plus’ and benefits in the EU member states
You won’t be granted with the ‘Rodzina 500 plus’ benefit if your family is entitled to a similar benefit abroad. However, you can have a differential supplement paid by the EU member state that offers better benefits in case you receive smaller benefits in another EU country.
It’s worth contacting the clerks if that applies to you. You can also contact me and I’ll help you solve this case.
It’s important to note that children granted with a Polish child benefit must be younger than 18 years.
When your child reaches the age of maturity the status of the ‘first child’ goes to the oldest under-aged child.
Example 5: When you have three children aged 17, 9 and 5, you receive 1000 PLN monthly for your second and third child. When the oldest child reaches the age of 18 years, the second child will become the oldest minor in your family, so you’ll receive only 500 PLN for the third child.
The next important age limit is 25 years. Your children younger than 25 years can be taken into account for your family income calculations.
Example 6: Your family of four has a monthly net income of 3000 PLN and you have two children aged 22 and 14. Normally you wouldn’t be able to receive a Polish child benefit, as you have only one child who is a minor. In this case, however, monthly income per capita equals less than 800 PLN. That means that you will receive a benefit for the first under-aged child. When your older child turns 25, your income per capita will equal 1000 PLN so you won’t be able to receive a benefit for the only under-aged child.
Polish child benefit ‘500 plus’ for common-law marriages
The marital status of parents is irrelevant. Marriages, informal couples, divorced and single parents all have the right to apply for a benefit. In the case of divorced couples money will be given to the parent who takes care of the child. Divorced parents who equally share their custody of the child can both apply for a benefit for their term of custody.
When can you apply for a Polish child benefit?
Annual reference periods
The program is divided into annual reference periods starting from the 1st of October and ending on the 30th of September. That means that you need to apply for a benefit all over every year. If you’ve participated in the current reference period and you want to apply for the next one, you can do that on the 1st of August at the earliest.
Joining the system
However, if you want to join the system, you can do that at any time. The benefit will be paid starting from the month when you apply. When you apply for a benefit for a newborn child that’s been born just this month, you will receive only some part of the money. They will divide 500 PLN into 30 days (16,67 PLN daily) and multiply this by the number of days between your child’s birthday and the end of the month.
Applications in July-September 2017
Please remember that the current reference period will end on the 30th of September. If you decide to join the system in July, August or September, you will need to submit the application once again for the next reference period. Starting from the 1st of August you will be able to submit both applications:
- for the few months left in the current period
- and for a new reference period.
Both applications should be pretty similar when you apply for the benefit for your second or next child and you don’t need to provide the clerks with your income record. However, if your family income per capita is less than 800 PLN and you want to apply for a benefit for the first or only child, applications will look a little bit different.
- The application for the new period will be submitted on the basis of your income from 2016 (the previous tax year).
- The application for the current period should be submitted on the basis of income from 2014.
That’s because the program started in April 2016 when people still hadn’t submitted their tax returns for 2015, so the government decided to go two years back to the closed tax year.
Changes in 2017
In response to reported abuses of the system the Polish parliament has recently changed the rules a little bit. I still need to wait for the president to sign the new act and the ministry to send instructions to clerks before I can describe the changes on my blog.
The application form
Unfortunately, the form is available only in Polish. It’s so long, there are so many explanations inside and there would be so many different scenarios to explain that I’m not able to translate it at this time.
If you know a reliable Polish speaker, ask them for help and go to the office in order to have necessary support that will enable you to fill out the form.
You can also contact me. I’ve recently started building my concierge business, so I can offer you full paid support with the papers via Skype.
You can find the form here.
You can submit it in one of the special contact points organized by the city or municipality where you’ve registered your residence, send it via post to the municipality office/city hall, or submit it via your bank’s online system if it’s on this list.
Millenium even prepared this special description in English, which is quite nice of them.
That’s all the information about the Polish child benefit ‘Rodzina 500 plus‘ that I can share with you in the article, but it’s much less than I actually know about this subject. The rest of it applies to particular cases and various specific scenarios. I’m guessing that you probably have some extra questions. Feel free to contact me and ask them.
Also, you definitely should check the other articles that I’ve written in the Living in Poland category.