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Guide To Benefits Available In France

This article is designed to be a guide to benefits available to residents in France (under certain conditions) at the time of writing, and is in essence a translation of a French brochure on the subject. The subject is so vast that this article does not go into all the details of how to obtain the benefits, but rather attempts to indicate what can be available. 

Other benefits, not paid directly to the beneficiaries, come in the form of income tax deductions or tax credits, and are treated separately.
Direct payment benefits come under six major headings.
3.         Help for the aged
4.         Housing benefits
1.         Support for children, young and older
The PAJE (Prestation d’accueil du jeune enfant) is destined to allow parents, under a certain income limit, to reconcile their family and professional lives.
It is made up of :
a)        the birth or adoption benefit  (Prime à la naissance ou à l’adoption)
b)        a basic child benefit  (Allocation familiales et de soutien familial ASF)
c)         a complementary benefit for day care for children under 6
d)        a further complementary benefit  (CLCA and COLCA) if at least one of the parents reduces or ceases their activity to look after the children.
e)        complementary benefit for couples with at least 3 children (complément familial).
f)          the « big family card » for families with three or more minor children, allowing reductions on train fares and other purchases.
2. School and higher education
The ARS (Allocation de rentrée scolaire) helps needy families whose children between 6 and 18 are in school or at university.
a)        Secondary education scholarship (Bourse des collèges)
b)        High school scholarship (Bourse des lycées)
c)         Complementary scholarships depending on the studies pursued.
d)        Erasmus scholarship for second year university students
e)        Specific higher education scholarships for students under the age of 28.
3.         Help for the aged
a)        The ASPA (Allocation de solidarité aux personnes âgées) is reserved for people with very small retirement pensions, generally because they did not contribute to a pension scheme. It concerns potential beneficiaries over the age of 65, or over 60 if the person is recognised by the benefit server as being « inapt » to work on medical grounds.
b)        The minimum contribution (Minimum contributif) for retirees whose pension calculated at 50% of the maximum state pension does not reach a minimum level.
c)         Widow or widowers pension paid to the surviving spouse, for pensioners having worked in the private sector.
d)        Widow or widowers pension paid to the surviving spouse, for self-employed pensioners
e)        Home help for the aged. This covers a wide range of assistance and is available to people over the age of 65 (60 if assessed as « inapt ») with limited ressources, and who receive the APA (Allocation personnalisée d’autonomie) – see below.
f)          Benefit for retirement home residents. This benefit is paid to those home residents over 65 (or 60 if « inapt ») whose income is insufficient to cover their residential costs. It is paid by the « département », but any such sums paid are recoverable from the benificiary’s estate on death. Applications are made to the CCAS (Centre communal d’action sociale).
g)        Widow or widowers benefit, paid to the surviving spouse of a worker who has not yet reached the necessary age (55) to receive the widow or widowers pension.
h)         the APA (see also 3 e) above) allows people aged over 60, living at home or in a retirement home, to finance all or part of their expenses to accomplish their everyday activities (home help etc..). The benefit comes in four categories depending on the degree of dependence determined by the socio-medical team, and is subject to a financial assessment of personal ressources. Applications are made to the « Conseil Général du département » and can be withdrawn from the CCAS or the town hall.
4. Housing benefits
a)        The APL (Aide personnalisée au logement) available to lessees of a home which is subject to an agreement with the State (State Low Rent – HLM, hostels, or private owners who have signed an agreement with the Anah). Owners who reimburse a PAS (Prêt d’accession sociale), a PAP (Prêt aidé à l’accession à la propriété) or a conventionally contracted loan to purchase a property, finance its enlargement, or its renovation also have access to this benefit.
b)        The ALF (Allocation de logement à caractère familiale) available to lessees of their principal residence, or to owners who are repaying a loan, if they do not qualify for the APL. Reserved for families with children, or other dependents. Also available to couples married for less than 5 years, if both partners were less than 40 on the date of marriage.
c)         the ALS (Allocation de logement à caractère social) for lessees of their prinicipal residence, or people living in homes, and to owners of principal residences who have contracted a loan for its purchase or renovation, and who do not qualify for the APL or the ALF. This applies to couples without dependent children, and is often paid to retirees with modest ressources, the handicapped, young workers, or even students.
d)        the removal benefit, for families who move on the arrival of their third (or more) child, or who have three dependent children, the last of which is less than 2 years old.
e)        ANAH subvention for owner/occupiers.
f)          ANAH subvention for owner/lessors.  Obligation to rent at a moderate rent for 9 years. For renovation work.
g)        Loca-Pass advance. Interest free loan to pay the guarantee deposit for lessees, repayable over a maximum of 36 months and a minimal monthly payment of Euros 15.
5. Compensating benefits for the handicapped
a)        the AJPP (Allocation journalière de présence parentale). Available to people with a dependent child less than 20 years old, who is ill, has a handicap, or victim of a serious accident. Workers, self-employed, trainees and indemnised people out of work (for the latter the indemnity is suspended).
b)        the AEEH (Allocation d’éducation de l’enfant handicapé), available to families who assume all the costs of their handicapped child.
c)         the AAH (Allocation aux adultes handicapés). This benefit guarantees a minimum of ressources to handicapped adults over 20 whose income is modest.
d)        the MVA (Majoration pour la vie autonome). For handicapped adults who can work, but are out of work because of their handicap.
e)        the PCH (Prestation de compensation du handicap). This benefit finances the expenses following a loss of autonomy, whether they be technical, human, animals, adaptations of dwelling etc. The benefit can be in cash or in kind.
f)          the ASI (Allocation supplémentaire d’invalidité) This benefit comes in addition to an invalidity or old age pension, for people with a permanent incapacity. It is however recoverable from the beneficiary’s estate over a threshold of Euros 39 000.
6. Solidarity benefits for access to basic needs
a)        the RSA (Revenu de solidarité active). Destined to assist people to reinsert themselves into society and/or a job. For people having small or inexistent ressources, and for those who are working, but whose professional income is under the guaranteed minimum of the RSA.
b)        the CMU (Couverture minimum universelle). Available to anyone who does not have access to the obligatory health insurance system.
c)         the CMU-C (Couverture minimum universelle complémentaire). This benefit is available to people whose revenues are under certain limits. If gives the right to be reimbursed for 100% of the conventional health costs, without having to pay the costs up front.
d)        the ACS (Aide à l’acquisition d’une complémentaire santé). This benefit is available to people whose ressources are maximum 20% greater than the limits for the CMU-C to allow them to subscribe complementary health insurance. 

e)        Aide juridictionnelle. A benefit for people whose resources are insufficient to allow them to defend their judicial rights. It covers all or part of costs of procedure (lawyers, bailiffs, solicitors, experts….)

Whilst every effort has been made to ensure that information contained in this article is current and correct, the British Association of the Alpes Maritimes cannot assume responsibility for the accuracy of the content nor for the results of any actions that arise from the usage of the information.

May 2010
Further Information

The French Social Security System 


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