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, Ben!

    Thank you very much for the work done in building and updating this website – the next coffee is on me!
    Would you be able to help out here – I am about to start as a TA in the EC. I came to Brussels in October 22 for a BBT, which ended in February. I started working in May 23 and have been employed under interimaire contracts for most of the time after. I have been registered in the commune as of February 23. Do you think I am eligible for the installation and DSA allowances? Are you able to point out to any source or have you heard of a similar case with positive resolution?

    The Staff regulation rather give me the impression these are only for newly settled in Brussels.

    • Juliet, hi!

      First of all, congrats on the TA contract and skipping the uncertainty that comes with CA contracts and the need to find something else after 6 years or sooner!

      Turning to the question:

      – The Blue Book Traineeship definitely doesn’t count as residence in Brussels. It’s less clear how your institution’s HR will interpret the interim contracts and the fact that you’ve registered with the commune before starting your TA contract. You could argue that even though you’re registered with the Commune, interim contracts shouldn’t be treated as ‘taking up residence’ in Brussels before the start of your contract as it’s a form of precarious employment with little job and social security. You can already get in touch with your institution’s HR department with a question about this.

      In case the initial process of “rights’ establishment” by HR leaves you without this allowance, you can ask them to justify the decision instead. I would also use the opportunity to consult with one of the several EU officials labour unions in Brussels. It is important that you take this issue seriously as it might affect other allowances that are dependent on needing to ‘establish residence’ in Brussels, most importantly, the Expatriation allowance that’s 16% of your salary.

      Apologies I can’t provide a clearer but too much depends on your particular situation and the interpretation your institution’s HR will choose.

      – I have a short article on the installation allowance as well, but I already noticed I need to update it with more detail: https://euemployment.eu/european-commission-installation-allowance/ One of the things I should add is that if the initial contract is shorter than 3 years, but a staff member is “extended” to 3+ years, s/he can request a recalculation of the installation allowance and get the difference. But, as you are a TA, your initial contract is likely 5 years so you don’t have to worry about not getting the full installation allowance.

      • Thank you, Ben!

        Would you advise me to get in touch with trade unions? – I think it should be easy in my case to get the expatriation allowance as I can easily prove that my family lives in my home country + I have property there as well.

        On another note, I was assigned to AST 1, step 1, even though I have something like 4+ years of experience. Would you mind explaining how does (assignment in a grade and step) this work in the Institutions? Is it worth discussing/bringing that up with HR?

        Regards,

      • Hi! I would definitely use any assistance I could get, particularly if it’s for free or reasonably priced.

        Regarding placement in steps, unless it’s annouced in the vacancy noticed that you’ll be placed in step 2 due to a certain amount of years of work experience, everyone’s placed in step 1.
        For AST 1 step 1 positions you are also probably not in a strong position to negotiate a higher placement, even though that’s theoretically possible (usually possible for grades AD7/AST7 and up).

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