Daily Subsistence Allowance

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 usually 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 the dedicated article on the European Commission Correction Coefficient.
  • 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 confirmed by your institution’s HR. 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.


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.

Article 20

An official shall reside either in the place where he is employed or at no greater distance there from as is compatible with the proper performance of his duties. The official shall notify the Appointing Authority of his address and inform it immediately of any change of address.


This article is based on the European Commission Staff Regulations and other publicly available information such as EU institutions’ vacancy announcements.

Do you have question or suggestion for this article? Please share in a comment below and let’s make this resource better for you and other readers!

85 responses to “Daily Subsistence Allowance”

  1. Hello,

    I am starting 1st of June and have registered already with Brussels municipality in the last week.
    I have de-registered as well in my home country.
    Will I receive the DSA or should I have waited with registering in Brussels until the 4 months have passed?

    • Hi! DSA is not affected by your local registration status. However, most EU institutions require you to register locally to get the Expatriation/Foreign Residence Allowance. The sooner you have proof of local registration, the sooner the allowance can be paid to you.

  2. Hello,

    I am starting 1st of June and have registered already with Brussels municipality in the last week.
    I have de-registered as well in my home country.
    Will I receive the DSA or should I have waited with registering in Brussels?

  3. Hi Ben,

    I used to work for the European Commission in Brussels for around 3-and-a-half years. I reveived both installation allowances and the dailly subsistence allowance at that time.

    Over the last two years I work for a non-EU institution in Luxembourg.

    GIven that I recently received an offer to return to Brussels and the European Commission, am I entitled to the installation and dailly subsistence allowance? According to the rules I will change country of residence to take up duties, but given I have already received the allowance when I first came to Brussels, would it be possible to receive it again? Your opinion would be more than appreciated!

    • Sokratis, hi! My understanding is that you should be entitled to the DSA as you’re moving from Lux to Bru. However, sometimes each DG’s HR has peculiar opinions. If you get a negative opinion from your institution’s HR, consider appealing the decision within the internal process.

  4. Hi Ben,

    Thank you for this great article!
    I did a BB traineeship between October 2023 and February 2024, then an interimaire contract for March 2024. I am starting an FG3 contract at the Commission on 1st of April 2024. Am I entitled to the daily subsistence allowance?

    • Your BB status should not affect eligibilty for the DSA, even if you temporarily lived in the location of your EU institution during the BB internship in the same location where your Commission job is located.

      If you’ll have to relocate, you’ll be entitled to the DSA. If you don’t have a spouse or/and dependants, you’ll receive the DSA for 4 months. If you have a spouse/dependants, you’ll get it for 10 months.

      Don’t hesitate to ask all these questions to the dedicated HR email in your institution. Remember that your first salary and allowances might be delayed until your 2nd months. It’s possible that in the first month, at best, you’ll receive the basic salary while HR “establishes your rights”. This is very inconvenient as it’s the first month when most people have increased expenses due to finding a place to rent.

  5. Hi Ben,

    Here’s a situation that I cannot understand but maybe you can clear the confusion.
    In the article you mention you get DSA for 10 months “if you are married or in a recognized partnership, or/and have children” but you don’t get DSA “if you are neither have a recognized spouse, nor have children”. Am I reading this right?
    Also, I am national of the country, where an institution has its office, but I have not lived there for more than 10 years.
    I am single, but have children.
    Am I entitled to DSA for 4 months or 10 months? What about Household Allowance?

    Thank you in advance for any feedback you might have on this matter.

    • Hi! If you have dependents, you will get the household allowance. If your kids are underage or in university until age of 24, you will also get a dependent child allowance for each child.

      Regarding the DSA – both whether you will get it and whether it’s for 4 or 10 months – it really depends on nuances of your situation. While you might not have lived in your home country for 10+ years, it’s all about legal proof.
      All I can advise is that if initially your institution’s HR declines your entitlement to the DSA, take it with a grain of salt and consider appealing to the authority mentioned by your HR. HR units of individual EU institutions have a mixed track record of solving complicated issues, and you might benefit from escalating to PMO or another EU entity that deals with “problematic” cases more often. There is definitively nothing to lose and such “contestation” will not count against you as long as you remain cordial in communication.

  6. Hello, I read in your comments that when your move to another institution and you were entitled to the DSA in your previous post, you will receive it again. Where did you base this information on? I am trying to find it but unsuccessfully so far. Thanks!

    • The DSA is linked to the probation period. If you move to a new institution and have a probation period, the DSA period also resets.

  7. Hello! I have been working as an AD official for ten years, and I’ve been receiving household allowance because I am married with kids. My husband is in the process of being recruited as an AST in a different institution. If I understand correctly, I will continue to get household and child allowances (because I’ll have bigger salary), but what does that mean for his DSA? Will he get it for 4 or 10 months? Tnx!

    • Hi! Married officials can choose which partner receives these allowances. Usually the one with the higher salary opts to get the allowances as some of them are calculated as a percentage of basic salary.

      In a “regular” situation your partner should receive the 10mo DSA, but I do not know your particular circumstances.

  8. Hi
    I would have a question regarding the calculations of the DSA rates.

    How are the DSA calculated considering that the DSA for Iceland (a country where the daily living costs are one of the highest) is lower than to comparable countries (i.e. Denmark, Sweden, Finland).
    Will they be recalculated and when?
    Thanks

    • Hi! The DSA is adjusted by the Correction Coefficient and should to some extent compensate higher cost of living. However, there are plenty of countries where the actual DSA amount, salary, allowances do not correspond to reality. This is very often due to the fact that inflation figures are used for the whole country, but living in the capital is 30-50% more expensive. There is nothing an individual person can do about this. Just hope that the Correction Coefficient improves.

  9. Dear Ben,

    I’m currently a Contract agent at the commission and I’m being recruited by a decentralised agency in another Member State. I have some questions related to the DSA and the removal expenses and another that I would really appreciate your opinion.

    1. Just to confirm what I read in the comments section of this article, I understand that if I ask for removal expenses before my contract starts, I won’t receive DSA.
    Additionally, I understand that if I don’t ask for removal expenses, I will receive after the end of my probational period 39,84 €(DSA for single person) x 120 days (around 4781€ in total).
    Anyways, I remember that you can move your belongings and receive the reimbursement up to 1 year after the end of your probational period, can you confirm this last point? If not, do you know if there is a deadline to do your removal?

    2. If I move from the Commission to an agency located in another Member State and there is no gap between both contracts, will I keep the place of origin established in the Commission or will the agency establish my place of origin in Brussels (I’m working currently in the commission in Belgium)?

    Thank you very much for your replies and I really appreciate your opinion on my situation.

    • Hi!

      1. As soon as you ask for removal costs, payment of DSA stops.

      Yes, you have 1 year after the end of the probation period to carry out removal. So usually it is 1 year + 9 months, unless you agree on a special arrangement with your institution to extend it (not very likely).

      2. Place of origin is established by each institution separately. If you want to change your place of origin, this is a good moment when to do it. If you want, you should easily be able to change your PoO to your home country, as the proof necessary for that is quite easy. Also – I assume you’ll want to travel to your family at least once a year, so it makes sense for most people to have their home country as place of origin, rather than location of last employment.

  10. Hi Ben,

    I have a question about DSA and Installation Allowance. So I understand you are entitled to both if you relocate for work. But what if you claim your Installation allowance (after you stop receiving DSA) and the removal date on the invoices you need to provide says that the removal was before your DSA ended? Do you loose the right for Installation Allowance or you need to repay the pro-rata amount of DSA that you received?

    Thanks!!

    • Hi! If you relocate during your probation period, you’d stop receiving the DSA from the actual relocation day (you might have to repay it if you file the documents later).
      Regarding installation allowance, I’d have to again read up on the rules, but generally it’s paid after it’s clear that you’ve passed your probation period and will work for an institution at least the initial contract period.

      • Hi Ben!
        How would the relocation date be defined? The day you register at the commune? Or the day you sign the flat lease? In order to take up your duties you need to relocate, right?

      • Hi! I made a longer reply to your two questions under the “Installation allowance” article.

        To reply to this particular question, the daily subsistence allowance might not be paid in the first few months if you don’t register locally. However, you will be reimbursed in full for all months where the payment was withheld once you provide all the necessary documentation to your institution’s HR.

        Relocation is usually proven by several steps, in most cases, provision of a rental/lease contract for an apartment and registration as a resident (or at least getting a local Ministry of Foreign Affairs status that you are (semi)diplomatic staff). If you have a partner/family, the institution’s HR might ask for proof that the family has also relocated. The practice seems to differ slightly from one institution to another, so it’s best to ask your HR, and also clarify that in case it’s difficult to provide a certain document, what might be an alternative.

        Just to give you one example, people often choose to stay in AirBNBs for 1-3 months to understand the city and look for good or reasonably priced long-term accomodation. In this case your institution shouldn’t wait for a lease contract as you have de facto relocated, but are just using short term accomodation. There usually are alternatives to documents to be provided.

  11. Hi Ben,

    Do you happen to know when the DSA is paid exactly? Is it with your first salary or earlier?

    I was wondering if the Commission pays any amount in advance or is everything done retroactively, since the relocation is financially rather challenging.

    Thank you!

  12. Hi Ben,

    If I accept a new job in a delegation that is a non-family duty station (i.e Afghanistan, etc), and therefore my wife and children cannot relocate with me, do I still get the DSA for 10 months or 4 months? I understand if they are not moving with me I am definitely not eligible for the household allowance (while I can still claim the dependent children allowance), but it is not clear to me about the DSA. Thanks!

    • Hi, Marco! Sorry, but I won’t be able to answer this as I know very little about how the EEAS functions.
      Best to ask your institution’s HR. Even if you are not entitled to the DSA, as far as I know, your salary and allowances won’t be adjusted by the Correction Coefficient, you will get 100% JSIS reimbursement, and then there is also hardship pay (don’t remember the precise name of the allowance). All of this actually should be better than getting the DSA in case if you are not entitled to it.

      If you have the time after you settle in, I would love to get a note about the benefits for EEAS staff working outside the EU. I know this would interest a lot of people, but I haven’t been able to get a good source on this.

  13. Thanks. So DSA is indeed independent of spousal income then? Only need to be married and moving places for the job?

    Best wishes

    • Yes, that’s how I understand the rules and what is my experience.
      Spousal income as far as I know affects JSIS coverage. Don’t remember if it affects any other allowances.

  14. Hello ! Firstly, Thanks for the helpful article!

    I wanted to ask a couple of things related to DSA.

    Do you need to claim the DSA when taking up duties and prove it by any means of proving residence? Asking as I am not a legal tenant in the flat I will be resident.

    Also as seen in another comment can the Special ID card (or belgian ID card) be used as such proof instead of a contract?

    And lastly can one issue both a local communal ID card and also the Special ID Card at the same time or has to choose one or the other?

    Thanks in advance!

    • Evan, hi!
      I had mistakenly indicated that you need a rent contract, the IDs or something similar to qualify for the Daily Subsistence Allowance. In fact, the institution’s HR will register the fact whether you have had to relocate and add the DSA amount to your salary based on that. HR calls this ‘place of origin’, and it’s used not only to ascertain the fact of relocation, but also the amount of the annual travel grant and removal costs.

      Thanks for asking your question which allowed me to revise the article!

      I’ve also now added the text of Article 20 at the end of the post. It appears that the concept of “no greater distance there from as is compatible with the proper performance of his duties” is interpreted differently in various institutions. It can mean not being outside a 50km radius of the HQ city, but there are EU agencies that treat this as being able to arrive in the office within a two-hour notice period.

  15. If I do not have kids and the spouse is above the income threshold, do I still get the longer period of DSA?

  16. Hi Ben,

    My question is related to the EU unemployement benefit but I can only insert a comment under DSA. Sorry about that!

    I have worked for six years in an EU agency in Brussels as FGIV. I have recently resigned to join a decentralized agency as AD6. This agency is offering me a two-year non-renewable contract.

    My question is: at the end of the AD6 contract, will my unemployement benefit be based on the total years worked for both instituitions or only on these two last years?

    Thank you!

    • Hi! I’m unable to answer this. Could you please approach PMO with your question? Would be excellent if you could also let us all know how rules are interpreted.

  17. Hi there,
    Thanks a lot for this website 🙂
    Ive recently started a job in EU agency with AST contract and on 9 month probation period.
    HR are telling me I am entities to 3 month Daily Subsistence Allowance for relocation as I’m not entitled to household allowance and single.
    Do you know if agencies have any discretion over how they decide on this allowance? Or where I could find the legal basis for this? Or why mine would be a month less?
    I also want to challenge the decision because if I was married I would get 6 months Daily Subsistence Allowance which I find really discriminatory given how expensive it is to be single.

    Thanks for any help!

    Neasa

  18. Hi there,

    I am unmarried and there is a probability to receive and sign a contract with an EU Agency.

    Basically irrespectively to the above, I was planning to get married on a date which probably will be some days after or before the contract signing, as I do not know yet the exact date of receiving – signing the contract.

    Therefore I would like to ask the following :

    Am I entitled to the household allowance at the beggining of my employment ?

    If I sign the contract as unmarried could I declare my wedding and expect the household allowance retrospectively ?

    Thank you in advance.

    • Congrats on the happy occasion!

      All allowances will be recalculated retroactively if you have the necessary proofs/documents. Also – if your circumstances change mid-way of the probation (e.g., you get married), after you submit the documents to your institution’s HR unit, they will do a recalculation. It is not necessary to do it ASAP, recalculations can be done months after a life event has taken place.

  19. Hi Ben!
    Great article, and much easier to understand than what I was able to find in other websites, so thanks! 🙂
    I have a doubt, thought. If you do not have anything to take to the country of work from your home country, do you still get the DSA? Because, when it ends, you won’t have anything to submit as removal costs. Does this make sense?
    Also, is the DSA only provided if you are living in temporary accommodations (hotels, etc) or do you get it even if you rent a house there?

    Thanks!

    • I realize that some of the benefits are confusing for first-time employees of institutions and some of them seem to be too good to be true, however, no mistake in the article.

      Do not confuse the DSA allowance with the removal costs. These are only linked in the way that if you carry out ‘removal’ before the end of the DSA payment period, DSA payment will stop. So – better to not carry out removal or transport things yourself. Also – you do not want to transport your items fully before the end of the probation period as there’s the minuscule chance that you do not pass it (for example, it might not be your fault if you land with a horrible boss, or realize that living in a particular country is just not for you).

      If you have to relocate, you get DSA automatically. Only the payment period differs – 4 or 10 months. If you’ll read the legal excerpt it’s mentioned that “[if] an official furnishes evidence that a change in the place of residence is required [..], such official shall be entitled [..] to a subsistence allowance”. This is quite easy to prove without a rent contract. Quite many EU institutions’ staff rent apartments short-term for the first month or two before they find permanent accommodation. The easiest way to prove this in most cases is to get a special ID document from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the host country. Talk to your institution’s HR unit about other ways to prove this (they should have plenty of suggestions from other cases).

  20. Hello Ben!

    I am starting my job as an FG IV in March but I have been working at the EC as an interimaire since Late October. Do I still have right to the DSA?
    I registered in Brussels in January.
    Many thanks for your answers and for all your great work!

    F.

    • Please check with HR, but I believe that yes as this will be your first “real” Commission contract. As an interimaire you were probably employed by a service provider that “lent” you to the Commission.

      Congrats on the job and the increased living standard!

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