Daily Subsistence Allowance

EU Daily Subsistence Allowance

EU institutions have multiple ways to ease accommodation of new staff members in the new workplace and (usually) the new country. The Daily Subsistence Allowance (DSA) is one of these measures.

Who gets the daily subsistence allowance?

The daily subsistence allowance is paid to everyone who has had to relocate and is still on the probation period. The DSA is higher if you are either married/in a registered partnership or have dependent children. For details read on.

Technically the DSA is paid out in order to compensate the fact that you have to upkeep two homes as you might be fired during the probation period. In practice, it helps to make the many up-front payments one has to usually make when starting to live in a new country (apartment safety deposits, kids’ school fees, loss of spousal income, etc.).

How much is the DSA?

  • 1293.30 EUR per month for 10 months or 44.28 EUR per day as of 01.01.2021 if you a) have moved a different country and b) are entitled to the household allowance, i.e., if you are married or in a recognized partnership, or/and have children. If your probation period is nine months, you’ll get and extra 12933.00 euros in your first year of employment, subject to the correction coefficient.
  • 1042.80 EUR per month for 4 months or 35.71 EUR per day as of 01.01.2021 if you a) have moved to a different country, but b) are NOT entitled to the household allowance (if you are neither have a recognized spouse, nor have children). In this case you’ll get an extra 4171.20 euros in your first year of employment, also subject to the correction coefficient.

For employees in the lower grades it can be as much as an extra 1/4 or even 1/3 or your salary for either four or 10 months.

Christmas come early, anyone?!

A few things to remember:

  • The DSA ir subject to the ‘correction coefficient’. So, you’ll get way less money in the countries that are considered “cheaper” by the European Commission. Read more about the correction coefficient here.
  • Don’t get used to the extra 1K euros a month as this will stop after either 4 or 10 months of employment. One of the better strategies is to save up this money as a safety cushion.
  • You do not have to keep renting an apartment in your home country. The DSA is paid purely on the fact that you have relocated (as proven by an ID card issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or a similar document of the country where your EU institution is located in). If you spouse and children, you will get the higher DSA rate.

A mistake to avoid

Don’t make the mistake of moving all your stuff at the start of employment and claiming the relocation allowance (reimbursement of actual moving costs). As soon as you do this, the DSA payments will end.

Unless you have very refined (and expensive) taste for furniture and interior items, you are better off by spending part of the DSA in the nearest IKEA or a similar shop. Even if you spend a significant part of your DSA on furniture and similar things, you should still have several thousands of euros left over. Alternatively, just get a furnished apartment.

This article is based on the European Commission Staff Regulations and other publicly available information such as EU institutions’ vacancy announcements. As the EU legal documents and even information on the various websites are hard to understand, this post is one from a series of articles that try to make information about employment in the European Commission and other EU institutions more accessible.

Do you have any questions or suggestions for this article? Please comment below and let’s make this resource better for other readers!

19 thoughts on “Daily Subsistence Allowance

  1. Ben, great job you re doing here ! Congrats for that. There’s something that is unclear to me and I need some enlightenment. It is mentioned that if a probation period of nine months is applied and one moves form a different country, upon taking duties, the DSA would be payed for 10 months IF someone is entitled of the household allowance. So here is my quatsion: based on what I have read. someone is entitled to the household allowance only when she/he is married. Is that correct? Cause if so, I assume that for a single official, under probation period, moving from a different country, the DSA duration can not be 10 months.

    1. Hi! Thanks for the comment and pointing this out. I finally manage to clarify and update the article! I hope it is clear now.

  2. Second question. I have been informed of a possibly for me taking an AST5 concour end of november. If succesful, Ill change contract from Contract Agent to Ast. Will that have an effect on the DSA?

    1. Hi! If you move to a different institution, you will get the DSA once over. However, if you get a different post/higher grade but remain at the same institution, you will not be entitled to the DSA again. Sorry for the delayed answer!

  3. What qualifies you to have 10 months of DSA? I am currently a contract agent in FG 3 with a probation period of 9 month. According to my personal information in stream line, the DSA will be ceased after 4 month. When I read the rules on intranet, it is stated that if your probation period is longer(9month) in my case, it will be for the full duration+one month.

    1. Hi! The article is clarified now. I hope that it answers the question. In short: 4 months if have moved, but have no spouse or kids. 10 months if you have moved and have either spouse or kids.

  4. Hello,
    First of all, thank you very much for your article.
    I have a question please : if I end my current rent in the country of origin before starting the job in the country of employment without asking for the relocation allowance, do I still get the DSA ? Or must I keep my rent in the country of origin until I start the job in the country of employment ?
    Thanks again

    1. Hi! The DSA is paid irrespective of whether you continue renting a place in your home country. The only factors are relocation, usually proven by a Ministry of Foreign affairs issued card or something similar, and that you have a spouse or/and kids. No spouse or kids = 4 months DSA, with spouse/kids = 10 months.

  5. What if you move from one agency to another? I was offered a position in another agency but as it will be for the same grade they considered as inter-agency movement so I they will consider the years already done and also the probation period. Therefore there I will have no probation but will still have to relocate.

    1. This seems to be a rare case and I cannot comment on the interagency move.
      However, please remember that you are entitled to the Removal allowance (costs of moving your personal belongings to another country) from either your last or your new institution.

  6. Hello! I’m completely unaware of the practical conditions of the DSA, since I don’t belong in the EU institutions, therefore I would like to apologise in advance for my question!
    If a Contract Agent relocates to Brussels from their home country (eg Italy) to take up duties on 1st August (for instance), but he/she decides to rent a furnished apartment and the move-in date is set on 15th July, does this mean that the DSA is not applicable? Are there any circumstances under which the DSA could be claimed?
    Many thanks in advance and congratulations Ben for your help and guidance to those who need it!

    1. Hi! The DSA will be paid as of the 1st day of the contract. Per your example, the contract starts on the 1st of August so the DSA will be paid out from August 1 as well. To receive the DSA, you do not have to prove that you have moved in an appartment. You receive it based on the contract. However, the length and the amount will depend on your situation (4 vs 10 months).

  7. Thank you very much for your reply. Actually I was planning to move my things on my own and deal directly with a logistics company. Even if that means that I have to advance the cost of moving. My plan was to ship some things first and then 10 months later ship the rest of the furniture. After receiving the last shipment I would send the invoice to the department in charge of reimbursement. If I understand clearly your reply this is possible? Thank you!

    1. Martin, the EU Paymasters Office must authorize the quote from the company, only then you will be reimbursed. If PMO hasn’t autorized the quote and your request in advance, you will not be reimbursed. However, if you go the official route and submit a request and a quote, and it gets approved, you will lose the daily subsistence allowance at the moment the removal is actually carried out.

      In human language, if you can agree with the company that they issue you a quote and an invoice later for approval by the PMO, this might be an option, although not totally legit. A better strategy, IMHO, would be to move a small amount of essential items and pay for this yourself. And do the moving of all items once the probation period ends so that you get all the DSA.

  8. Hello, what if you are hired to work in a delegation in a foreign country and you really need to bring stuffs there immediately ? Can you move your things two times, first time when you are hired and second time when your probation period is over in order to get the daily subsistence allowance? So you reclaim the removal cost reimbursement at the end of the probation period? Thanks

    1. Hi! As a general principle, if you need to have furniture and other equipment immediatelly, it is better to arrange transportation yourself. Because as soon as you carry out “removal” from your home country, the Daily Subsistence Allowance stops. If you have the DSA fro 10 months, you would then forfeit up to 10k EUR. Unless you have a very expensive taste, you can buy everything you need locally and still benefit from the difference. In my opinion, even if you are entitled to the 4 months DSA, in most cases it still pays to carry out removal only after the end of the probation period.

      Theoretically, you can split removal trips between family members, e.g., transport your things first, and then families later. But most people do it once.
      Bear in mind that you will have to advance the costs to the logistics company and you will be reimbursed only after approx. 2-3 months.
      Also- it takes PMO up to 6 weeks to approve your removal request. I.e., if you submit your request to PMO (usually through your HR) on June 1, you can plan removal from July 15 onwards.

      I hope I answered your question, but let me know if there are further questions!

  9. There’s a significant error in your calculation: if you’re not entitled to the household allowance then your daily subsistence allowance stops after 120 days, so it’s actually around 4171€.

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