Unemployed individuals who sign an employment contract for short-term seasonal agricultural work shall retain their right to monthly social benefits, according to the amendments in the Bulgarian Health Act that entered into force on 14th May. They will also be eligible for heating aid if they meet all other conditions and requirements for obtaining such. With the amendments in the Regulations for Implementation of the Social Assistance Act that have been approved by the Bulgarian Government guarantee that citizens will still retain their right to receive support.

According to the amendments, all remunerations and related payments from employment contracts for short-term seasonal agricultural work until 31 October 2020 shall not be considered as income in determining the amount of social aid to be granted. This guarantees the unemployed who commencing such work that they will not be deprived of the monthly social aid which they have been receiving up to that moment. If they file a declaration-request for targeted assistance for heating, then exceeding the income limit as a result of the remuneration received shall not be valid grounds for depriving them of this aid.

The amendments create conditions for encouraging employment activity among the unemployed, and their inclusion in the labour market, as well as for increasing their income, without losing their right to social assistance. At the same time, it becomes easier for farmers to find workers during harvest season.

With regard to the obligation of monthly social benefit recipients to perform public service for 4 hours a day 14 days per month, they need to notify their local Social Assistance Directorate within 3 days upon signing a short-term seasonal employment contract. This will guarantee that their right to monthly social assistance remains intact. In order to facilitate the citizens, The Social Assistance Directorate will notify them of these conditions in writing.