As with temporarily admitted persons from other countries, the existing assets are now included.
So far, around 60,000 people have fled Ukraine to Switzerland, where they are granted protection status S. He assumes that he will return home once the war is over.
For this reason, the SODK conference of cantonal social directors decided on special rules for receiving social assistance for the first six months after the outbreak of war.
Assets of persons in need of protection will be taken into account in the future
In the case of people from Ukraine, assets such as jewelry, cars, but also bank assets or real estate in their home country are not taken into account when calculating whether they are entitled to social assistance.
This is in contrast to those that are temporarily allowed from other countries. Until now, rich Ukrainians could also receive social assistance.
However, this has led to growing resentment, explains SODK Secretary General Gaby Szöllösy: “We noticed that there was a certain amount of public criticism about the different treatment of those temporarily admitted and those in need of protection. That is why our board has discussed various options on how we should take into account the income and assets of people who need protection in the future.”
This now applies to people who need protection from Ukraine
The guidelines of the Swiss Conference for Social Welfare SKOS: Income of persons with status S must be taken into account when assessing (asylum) social assistance, regardless of whether it is obtained in Switzerland or in another country. In this way, the principle of equal rights in relation to other recipients of social assistance is maintained.
If persons with status S withdraw funds from bank accounts (eg via bank and credit cards or other channels) or from other assets in Ukraine, they are included in income. Similarly, assets (including cash that can be exchanged) located in Switzerland must be sold – taking into account the following criteria:
• It is not allowed to get rid of non-absorbable assets such as clothes, personal belongings, household appliances and other movable items that are indispensable.
• Due to a directive from the Federal Office of Customs and Border Security, Ukrainian vehicles may be used for private purposes in Switzerland until further notice. In the case of these service unpaid vehicles, there is no need to recycle them until the end of 2022 with a view to an early return trip. The ongoing maintenance costs for vehicles must be paid out of basic need, unless the vehicle is needed from the point of view of social welfare, for example for professional or health reasons. It must be checked whether the maintenance costs lead to debt and whether the livelihood of supported family members is adversely affected.
Assets in Ukraine should not be taken into account if it can be assumed that related persons in Ukraine will use them to earn their living and/or the return and reintegration in Ukraine will consequently be made more difficult.
As a first step, the SODK board has now decided to tighten the guidelines for receiving social assistance, regarding withdrawals from Ukraine.
The new rule is: “If people with status S withdraw money from bank accounts or other assets in Ukraine, it must be counted as income”.
The only exception: the car
Larger assets located in Switzerland must also be counted again. This significantly increases the barrier to receiving social assistance.
However, one exception must remain for the time being: the car. “The car serves Ukrainians on their way home when they want to return. It is not appropriate if we now force them to sell this car, so to speak,” says Szöllösy.
However, this is only valid until the end of the year. New recommendations on how to handle vehicles and other assets such as jewelry are expected to be available in late fall.