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Help to claim all benefit entitlements from some French authorities

The three-year initiative will trial ways to reduce billions of euros in unclaimed aid

For some benefits, such as the Aspa pension top-up, only 50% of those eligible apply for support Pic: Oleg Elkov / Shutterstock

Dozens of local authorities are to take part in a trial aiming to reduce the number of people who do not claim the state benefits they are entitled to.

Thirty-nine communes, intercommunalités and departments have been selected to take part and have been named ‘zero non-claimant zones’.

They include cities such as Marseille and Lyon, rural towns, and departments including Gironde, Haute-Garonne and Pyrénées-Atlantiques. See the full list here.

1,500 different state benefits available in France

The three-year experiment will include targeted information campaigns and additional support for applicants. 

A dedicated committee will evaluate the effectiveness of the measures put in place.

There are estimated to be up to 1,500 different state benefits available in France but more than 30% of people do not apply for the help they qualify for. 

For some benefits, such as the Aspa pension top-up, this is as high as 50%.

Read more: French benefit explainer: Aspa low pension income top-up

Prefilled forms to be sent to beneficiaries

The government also plans to simplify the payment of CAF benefits – specifically the RSA job seekers’ benefit, the prime d’activité workers’ top-up, and APL housing benefits.

The CAF will contact beneficiaries directly with a prefilled form with information about their income levels, which must be validated or modified, instead of people having to apply themselves and declare their income every three months. 

They will estimate eligibility using a recently created database, which obtains information from employers and public institutions about salaries and other income. 

No start date has yet been announced.

Since July, payslips now feature a Montant net social category, corresponding to the amount used to calculate eligibility for benefits, in another attempt to simplify the application process.

Around €10billion of CAF benefits go unclaimed a year, according to the government.

Read more: How are Caf income support benefits changing in France?

Startup Klaro alerts users to eligibility

There are also private initiatives aiming to help, including the startup Klaro, which helps people to understand which schemes they are eligible for. 

Its team of legal experts has come up with a list of 1,500 aid schemes. An average of €110 of aid per household is not claimed each month, it says.

It offers its service exclusively through paying partners – mainly companies and social housing providers, as well as some universities and mutuelles. It also works with the Red Cross and other charities.

A total of 120,000 users have access, via 120 clients. “We have a strong wish never to make users pay,” said Laurie Thierry of Klaro.

‘Anyone can experience financial difficulties’

The help ranges from benefits for people on low incomes to help buying an electric car or renovating a property. 

“We want to make people understand that there is aid for everybody, and they’re not taboo. For lots of people, they are poorly regarded, but if they exist, it is for a reason.

“Anyone can experience financial difficulties. There is aid that you might not have qualified for five years ago, but as soon as your situation changes, the algorithm will let you know you are now eligible.”

The online platform asks users to fill in their personal information, then scours the database to see which schemes they might qualify for, while also simplifying the language and guiding them through the application process. 

Since it centralises the data, it also does away with the need to repeat the same information for each form.

If your company or university does not offer the service, there is an option to put them in touch at klaro.fr

The government offers a similar service at mesdroitssociaux.gouv.fr, and for under-30s at 1jeune1solution.gouv.fr/mes-aides, but they feature only 60 and 500 schemes respectively.

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