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 city or even 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 changed residence in the same country or 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 changed residence in the same country or moved 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.
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.
- I haven’t been able to clarify how far one has to move from the current place of residence within the same country to the new place of residence where your EU institution is located in. If any reader can provide details on this, that would be highly appreciated by us all.
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.
Excerpt from Staff Regulations
E. Daily subsistence allowance
- Where an official furnishes evidence that a change in the place of residence is required in order to comply with Article 20 of the Staff Regulations, such official shall be entitled for a period specified in paragraph 2 of this Article to a subsistence allowance per calendar day as follows:
— EUR 44,28 for an official who is entitled to the household allowance,
— EUR 35,71 for an official who is not entitled to the household allowance.
The above scale shall be reviewed each time remuneration are revised pursuant to Article 65 of the Staff Regulations.
- The period in respect of which the daily subsistence allowance is granted shall be as follows:
(a) in the case of an official who is not entitled to the household allowance: 120 days
(b) in the case of an official who is entitled to the household
allowance: 180 days or, if the official is a probationer, the period of probation plus one month.
In cases where a husband and wife who are officials or other servants of the European Union are both entitled to the basic subsistence allowance, the period in respect of which it is granted as laid down in (b)shall apply to the person whose basic salary is the higher. The period laid down in (a) shall apply to the other person.
In no case shall the daily subsistence allowance be granted beyond the date on which the official removes in order to satisfy the requirements of Article 20 of the Staff Regulations.
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.
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