Daily Subsistence Allowance

EU Daily Subsistence Allowance
Daily Subsistence Allowance | pexels.com

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.

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.
  • 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
Article 10

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

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

By Ben

I'm working at my third EU institution. This website is my way of sharing know-how and expertise no matter if you just plan to get an EU job, already have one, or are planning to leave one. At all stages of your EU job "lifecycle" there are things which are important or nice to know to make the journey more comfortable. I really appreciate every comment that helps me improve the articles for other readers! Tips on new article topics welcome!

36 comments

  1. Hello!

    Thank you for your efforts and for compiling all these info together.

    Quick question, hopefully not a too stupid one. To claim the DSA, is it a long procedure? And is it only upon an ID card (whenever it arrives, given that it takes some time for all the administrative steps to be completed) or a rental contract is in fact required? Since I have a probation period of 9 months but am entitled to only 4 months of DSA (and don’t want to be forced into a rental contract without knowing the market), I have made an informal deal with a hotel for a long stay of a few months, and I’ll be away during weekends, but was curious if I made the wrong choice.

    1. Manu, hi! You do not have to present a rental contract to receive the DSA. Any definitive proof that you’ve relocated is sufficient. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs ID card is one of the easiest ways how to prove this. Usually this doesn’t take long, but there might be national differences. In most countries this takes only weeks as the ministries want to treat “diplomatic” staff preferably.

      If you don’t manage to get the ID or another proof or relocation in the first month, do not worry. You will be paid all funds you are entitled to retroactively once you present the necessary evidence.

  2. Hi Ben,
    thanks for this post.
    I have a question, Do am I elegible for a “daily subsistence allowance” if I’m moving in the same country but more than 1.000 km away?
    I have children and I’m not married or in a registrered partnership.
    Thank you in advance!

    1. Clara, I believe that in fact you are entitled to the DSA if you have to move from where you live currently. I doubt if you could claim the DSA if moving within the same city, but if the cities are 50+ km apart, you should be able to claim it.

      By the way, thank you for the question, it made me look into what is meant by “change in place of residence” in the Staff Regulation. Turns out, it says nowhere that you have to change countries.
      For this reason I’ve updated the article and also included the relevant excerpt from the Staff Regulation.

  3. I am working in Brussels as SNE for more than two years.
    Then I found a CA position in Brussels and I will terminate my secondment.
    Am I eligible to get the DSA in my CA position during the probational period?
    Thanks in advance.

    1. Vasil, sorry but I have very little idea about SNEs. As you are currently an SNE, please ask the institution’s HR for a clarification. As you are already “in”, they should be happy to explain everything to you. There are sometimes incompetent colleagues in HR, so in that case just try to get access to a different person.

  4. Dear Ben, very nice and useful article! I’m receiving the daily subsistance allowance (from may/2021) and we just moved to a furnished appart in Brussels. My son also got the acceptance to an EEB. (1) Do you know if my family and I could ask a certificate of residence (à la commune) to get a national Belgian number during this temporary situation, without getting stopped the DSA? (2) Do you know if missing this national number would be a problem for my son to get enrolled at the school or in another paperwork?
    My general doubt is whether the residence permit, the CIS or other residence document would stop the DSA.
    Thanks in advance for your reply!

    1. Sorry about the delayed answer. I have never worked in Belgium and can’t answer anything related to the specifics of this part of your question.

      About entitlement to the DSA – payment of the DSA is only stopped if you start the official relocation process and request a compensation of relocation (known as “removal”) costs from the PMO. This is why nobody initiates formal “removal” during the probation period. If you don’t do this, you will continue to receive your DSA.

  5. Hey,
    do you get the full 10 months DSA when you are married but the spouse is earning too much?

    1. DSA is not linked to spousal income. Spouse’s income, as far as I’m aware, affects only coverage by JSIS. If too high, she/he will not be covered. Rates depend on each EU country.

      1. Thanks Ben. In the staff regulations it says: “If the spouse of an official is gainfully employed, with an annual income, before deduction of tax, of more than ►M39 the basic annual salary of an official in ►M112 the second step of ►M131 grade AST 3 ◄ ◄ , weighted at the rate for the country where the spouse carries out his or her occupation ◄ , the official entitled to the household allowance shall not receive this allowance save by special decision of the appointing authority. The official shall, however, be entitled to the allowance where the married couple have one or more dependent children.”.

        If I read correctly the means “entitled” but “shall not receive”. Does this in turn mean that the DSA, which depends on entitlement to the allowance is nevertheless payed? Even though one would not be receiving the allowance in case the spouse earns too much?

      2. Tim, the ‘daily subsistence allowance’ and the ‘household allowance’ are two different things. For the household allowance, indeed, there are more requirements to qualify; I have separate article on that. For the DSA – everyone on probation period for either 4 or 10 months is entitled to it.

      3. Thanks a lot for your help Ben. I fear I was not clear enough when wording my question. Let me rephrase my question:

        The 10 months (not 4 months) DSA depends on household allowances. For an official to be eligible for the household allowance, they need i.e. to be married. However, if spousal income is too high, no household allowance is paid. My question: does that then ultimately lead to a situation where an official is married, but due to spousal income only receives the DSA for 4 months?

        Thanks for your patience Ben

  6. Ben, thanks a lot for a great article!

    Do you know if SNE’s (Seconded National Experts) are eligible to get DSA?

    Also, if both me and my wife get jobs at the EU institution at pretty much the same time, are both of us eligible for the DSA (or just one of us?)

    Thanks

    1. Hi, Paul! I can’t answer you right now if SNE’s are eligible for DSAs. I’m quite certain that SNE’s receive a daily allowance for the duration of their secondment, often in parallel to still receiving a salary from their home institution. I have to do a bit more research on this as I’ve never been an SNE.

      Not related to the answer about SNEs – if you and your wife both start out work in EU institutions as either officials, temporary or contract agents, you both would be entitled to the DSA. For all other allowances one of you would choose to receive it.

  7. Hi Ben, thanks for the great article. I was wondering if the employer expects from me to claim reallocation allowance at some point? My intention is to move my things very early with personal car and I don’t intent to seek any reimbursement costs. Does not claiming at some point removal costs represent a problem and will need to return the DSA? Thanks

    1. Hi! The claiming (or not) of the Removal costs is not linked to the Daily Subsistence Allowance. The only link is that if you claim the Removal costs reimbursement during your probation period, the payout of the DSA stops. It’s around 1000 EUR a month so me and most folks I know just either get partially/fully furnished apartments and buy the basic stuff locally. Once the probation period ends, you can move non-essential belongings.

      Nothing prohibits you to drive your car to your new place of employment and move your own things without claiming the Removal costs reimbursement. I have the feeling that most people actually don’t claim Removal costs, at least at the start of service because they are already settled in by the time the probation period ends and payment of the DSA stops.

      I hope I answered your question.

  8. 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.

  9. 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!

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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).

  14. 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.

  15. 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!

  16. 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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