It is known that there are parts of all communities around the world suffering from a lack of resources for different reasons, living below the poverty line, who need government support through laws designated for them to help providing daily sustenance or job opportunities that improve their standard of living and conduct their affairs. In Iraq the poverty rate has increased and reached to approximately 31.7% in 2020, according to the United Nations World Food Organization (2).
In Iraq, in accordance with the Social Welfare Law No. 11 of 2014, the government provide support to people who are in need of social welfare.
In this article, we will highlight the type of support this law includes.
Who is eligible for assistance under the law of social welfare?
This law includes the following Iraqi families and individuals living below the poverty line, and citizens of other countries residing permanently, continuously, and legally in Iraq:
- The unemployed: To be married, those who possess all the required civil documents (Unified Card, Iraqi Citizenship, Passport, PDS, Residence Card).
- The Widow: to be registered as a widow on the ID card and possesses a death certificate for her husband.
- The Divorced: A divorcee registered in the ID card and possesses a divorce certificate.
- The wife of the convict: possesses a copy of the judgment decision.
- The single woman: The unmarried that her age must be 35 years old.
- The orphan: Every child whose one of their parents or both have passed away.
- Abandoned wife: Every woman who has been abandoned by her husband and has a support letter from the judge that proves this.
- The person with disability: Every person who is unable to work and is 60 years old or above.
The Council of Ministers, based on a proposal by the Minister of Labor and Social Affairs, may include other eligible parties in addition to the ones mentioned in this law.
Cash benefits and social services
Every person or family living below the poverty line has the right to receive cash benefits and social services, as those covered by this law are determined by relying on poverty data and social research on an annual basis, through a special form Click here.
What are the procedures needed if I want to apply for the Social Welfare pension?
- Whenever the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs announces, through its official website (you may find it here) that the application form will be opened to receive the Social Welfare pension, which includes People with Disabilities. You will need to fill out the form with personal information and then obtain a Registration Number. (Write it down and keep it because you will need it later).
Note: The application is currently suspended, and the electronic form will work again if it is activated by the official website of the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs.
- If you find your name in the list shared by the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs through the website, you will need to visit the Social Welfare Department, in your governorate, and take with you the following documents:
- The Civil Status ID or the Unified National Card (original and photocopied)
- The Iraqi Citizenship Certificate (original and photocopied)
- The Ration Card (PDS Card) (original and photocopied)
- The Residence Card (original and photocopied)
- 2 Personal Photos
- A copy of the Civil Registry Record, from the Civil Status Directorate in your governorate.
- A Support Letter from the Mayor’s Office or the Governorate Council (to support eligibility for Social Welfare pension, and which testifies that you are not a government employee, and you are a Person with Disability).
- The specialized employee in the Social Welfare Department will check the form and the documents provided by you, and then refer you to the designated medical committees that are appointed in the health Centers near your residence, to determine the percentage of the disability.
- Once you obtain the medical report that shows the type and percentage of disability, you will need to submit the medical report to the Social Welfare Department again, where the employee sends an official letter to the Retirement Department confirming that you are not an employee in the governmental departments and do not receive any salary from the government.
- Then you will need to submit a written undertaking, confirming that you have no source of income, you are not an employee in the private sector and receive no salary or retirement.
- The Social Welfare Department employee will notify you to visit the Social Welfare Department after at least two months, or they might contact you later to visit your home by the field teams of the Commission for the Care of People with Disabilities, to verify the information mentioned in the form, and asses the standard of living and confirm your eligibility for the assistance.
- After the field visit, you will receive a letter of approval and a referral to the Retirement Department in your governorate, where a Master Card or Q Card is issued (the card through which you will receive the pension amount).
Note that you will receive a cumulative amount that will include the amount of pension accumulated starting from the date of approval from the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs.
NOTE: These procedures are free of charge, except for the costs of personal photos and photocopying of personal documents.
What is the prerequisite for receiving a social welfare benefit?
In addition to the basic conditions and categories to be eligible to receive cash benefits, it is required that the person covered does not receive a salary from the government and does not have a private and fixed source of income, except for those who receive a daily wage.
The categories specified in the law are granted the specified cash allowance amount (mentioned below in the social benefit ceiling schedule) if they have no income. If they have a fixed income, they would be given the difference between their income and the level of income specified in the law, if they meet the eligibility conditions and depending on the number of family members.
What are the social services provided by the Social welfare Authority?
The Social Welfare Commission is a governmental entity affiliated to the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, as it is responsible of administering all the procedures of social welfare allowance starting from receiving applications, reviewing, updating information and other relevant procedures to the providing of the allowance to vulnerable people, specified in the Social Welfare Law. The Social Welfare Commission shall coordinate with ministries and other agencies to provide the following social services to the individual or family covered by the provisions of this law:
First: Helping to enter the labor market through:
- Trainings, vocational education, and capacity building.
- Assisting in obtaining employment opportunities or a loan or grant to establish small projects through which a source of income can be obtained.
Second: the field of education, health, and housing.
Third: Providing awareness programs on family and social behavior.
Fourth: Taking care of their children and creating a suitable environment for them.
Fifth: Training the eligible persons who can work in ministries and other agencies for the purpose of acquiring experience and skill.
Sixth: Identifying people from families who can work, finding job opportunities for them to increase the family income.
Allowance Grant Applications
Allowance grant requests are responded to within 30 days from the date of submission, and the applicant is notified of the decision on paper in case of approval or rejection, and in case of non-review, the applicant is notified by a letter or by e-mail.
If the application is rejected, the applicant may object to the decision issued within 30 days from the date of notification to the Higher Committee for Social Welfare in the applicant’s governorate.
What is the work of the Social Welfare Commission's Committees at a governorate level?
- Receipt of applications for social welfare inclusion (paper-based or electronically).
- Ensure that the required documents are present.
- Send the applications that match the conditions to the Social Welfare Department in the governorate.
- Inform the applicant of the missing documents and information and ascertain that there is no breadwinner in the family (through a submission of endorsement by the Mukhtar and the District Commissioner within the area of residence).
Request to appoint a legal guardian for the person covered by the social welfare service
If the applicant is a minor, suffers from a mental illness, is unable to work in accordance with the Iraqi law, or suffers from a disease that prevents him or her from submitting the application, commenting on it, or objecting to the decisions issued about it, the Chairman of the Higher Committee for Social Welfare at a governorate level may request the appointment of a legal guardian through a court decision, if the applicant has no relatives up to the fourth degree. Also, people who are not within the four degrees, they can represent the applicant only by virtue of a power of attorney certified by a public notary.
Below are the four degrees of relatives according to the Iraqi law:
First degree: Father, mother, wife, son, daughter, husband.
Second degree: Brother, sister, grandfather, grandmother, son’s children, daughter’s children.
Third degree: Paternal uncle, paternal aunt, maternal uncle, maternal aunt.
Fourth degree: Cousins (including paternal and maternal).
A statement of the family's status and financial condition
Those covered under this law, within one year, must submit an annual statement Click here on the family and financial situation, to the Sub-Committee of the Social Welfare Commission or the Social Welfare Department at the governorate level. If the covered person does not submit the annual statement within the mentioned period, the disbursement of the allowance will be suspended to them in precaution, and they will be notified of this.
What changes in a social assistance beneficiary’s condition must be reported by the subsidized person?
The person covered by the social assistance or one of the family members shall report any change in the following cases within 30 (thirty) days from the date of their occurrence:
- Permanent change of residence of the family.
- The death of any family member.
- Any change in the family and financial situation that would affect the eligibility for the social assistance in whole or in part.
The benefit will be modified from the beginning of the month following the date on which the change took place.
In which instances the disbursement of subsidies will be suspended?
The allowance shall be suspended in one of the following cases:
First: The beneficiary’s departure from Iraq for a period exceeding 6 (six) months without a legitimate justification.
Second: Orphans that have reached the age of 18 years and do not continue with their studies.
Third: School drop-out by one of the beneficiary’s children, except for university studies.
Fourth: In the event of death, the social assistance is transferred to the widow of the beneficiary.
Fifth: When the reason for inclusion ceases to exist, such as the complete recovery of the patient, or the maturity of a minor orphan, or in the case of marriage of a widow.
Sixth: The family obtains a source of income or a financial resource that exceeds the amount of the granted allowance.
Seventh: Refusal to join one of the institutes or institutions concerned with training and rehabilitation.
Eighth: Refusal to join the work recommended to the person through the welfare programs for three times without a legitimate justification.
When will the assistance be cut off permanently?
The allowance is permanently terminated in one of the following cases:
First: If you lose one of the eligibility conditions mentioned in the law.
Second: If you submit documents or information that have been proven to be falsified for the purpose of eligibility under this law, or in the case of submitting incorrect information in the annual statement form with the aim of continuing to be covered by the social welfare allowance.
Is it possible to have changes in the granting of social welfare to the beneficiary groups?
Yes. The number of beneficiary family members and the amounts allocated to everyone are reviewed annually. The aim of this review is to include groups other than the previously mentioned categories, as well as to increase the number of beneficiary individuals, revise the amount of the allowance and assess the level of income in proportion to the change in the economic and living situation.
What is the appeal procedure in cases when the application is rejected?
The social assistance requester or applicant may submit a request within 30 days from the date of being notified of the decision of rejection. The applicant has the right to appeal against the decision within 60 days from the date of rejection decision, and the decision is subject to appeal within 30 days from the date of notification.
Appellants are exempted from all fees, including judicial or legal fees.
Does the social welfare law apply to foreign citizens, stateless persons, or other residents?
A Palestinian residing in Iraq since 1948 shall be treated as an Iraqi in relation to the application of this law. This law also applies to an Iraqi woman married to a foreigner and her children, as well as a foreign woman married to an Iraqi, and her children, if they are settled to live in Iraq, and fall under any of the above-mentioned eligibility criteria.
Social Benefit Ceiling Schedule
(Number of family members)
|Amount of the monthly allowance||
- Social welfare Law No. 11 of 2014. Click here
- Poverty rate in Iraq according to the World Food Organization. Click here
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