Social assistance from the CPAS/OCMW

If you are recognised as a refugee and you do not yet have an income to rent a house and provide for yourself, you can ask for help from the CPAS/OCMW.

Who gets social assistance from the CPAS/OCMW?

To get social assistance from the CPAS/OCMW, you need to meet several conditions:

  • You are legally residing in Belgium (recognised refugee, subsidiary protection, etc.)
  • You are in need. The CPAS/OCMW will examine your situation and income.
  • You have a place of residence in Belgium

The CPAS/OCMW can also impose other conditions: being willing to work, first applying for other benefits to which you are entitled, etc.

As long as you have not received a decision about your application for international protection, you have no right to social support from the CPAS/OCMW. You will be housed in a reception place, which is a Fedasil or Red Cross reception centre, or a house from the CPAS/OCMW.

What assistance does the CPAS/OCMW provide?

The CPAS/OCMW examines which assistance is most suitable for you. Some examples of assistance provided by the CPAS/OCMW:

  • financial assistance (a monthly living wage or a top-up if you earn less than the living wage)
  • housing or assistance in searching for housing
  • installation bonus (help with buying furniture and household goods)
  • assistance in paying for medical care
  • help in looking for work
  • help in repaying debts (debt mediation)
  • psycho-social assistance

If you need social assistance, go to the CPAS/OCMW of the municipality where you are staying.