In France it is estimated that €10billion in social support allocations is not claimed each year because up to one in three eligible people do not know about the benefits available to them.
This is according to a new report by the website Mes-Allocs.fr, which enables people to find out which benefits they are entitled to based on information about their housing and employment situation.
It has information on around 1,200 different types of state aid that people can access, and offers a simulator so you can check to see if you are entitled to any.
The website claims it has helped 22,294 people receive benefits they were not previously accessing, saving each user an average of €3,200 per year.
In its new report, published January 18, it found that the allocation éducation enfant handicapé (AEEH), which helps parents to meet certain care and educational support needs for children under 20, is the least well known to potential claimants.
Up to 85% of eligible parents of children with disabilities that significantly affect their social integration do not take advantage of this benefit.
The AEEH allocation amount is recalculated each year, and will be €132.74 until March 31, 2022. It can also be joined by a complément AEEH for more serious disabilities and/or for single parents.
Parents can claim the AEEH at their local maison départementale des personnes handicapées (MDPH).
Just like child disability support, France’s allocation aux adultes handicapés (AAH) is often left unclaimed by eligible people.
Up to 61% of people who have a disability that significantly affects their social integration do not make use of this benefit.
This aid is also recalculated each year, and currently comes to €903.60 for a single person under the lowest income threshold.
The AAH can also be claimed at your local MDPH.
Some 37% of people were found by the study to not be claiming the housing benefits for which they are eligible.
These include the aide personnalisée au logement, the allocation de logement familial and the allocation de logement sociale, which all help lower-income households to pay their rent if they fulfil certain criteria.
These benefits can be accessed by contacting your caisse d’allocations familiales (CAF) or the agricultural social security department, mutualité sociale agricole (MSA).
A similar proportion of people – 35% – do not claim their revenu de solidarité active (RSA), which allows people a basic acceptable income and varies depending on the composition of their household. You must be over 25 to qualify.
This is also accessed through the CAF or the MSA, and currently comes to €848.01 for a couple.
The number of people who do not claim their prime d’activité – also allocated by the CAF or MSA – is even higher, at 53%.
This benefit enables people who are working but on a very low income to boost their salary payments by €185 per month as of 2019.
Eligible people must be over 18, be permanent residents of France and have an income below a certain threshold. Students, interns and apprentices can also benefit under certain conditions, which are explained further on government information page Service-public.fr.
Mes-Allocs.fr’s study found that the most commonly used state aids are the allocation de rentrée scolaire (ARS) and the allocation de soutien familial (ASF), which are claimed by 88% and 86% of eligible people respectively.
The ARS seeks to respond to the expenses incurred during the back to school period in September. It is paid in August by the CAF or the MSA to low-income families, and varies depending on the age of the child and the number of children in the household.
For example, a single six to 10-year-old would be given €370.31, while a 15 to 18-year-old would get £404.28.
The ASF is aimed at parents who are raising their children alone, and at couples who have adopted a child. It is not means-tested, but single-parent households must not be receiving financial support – or if they are, it must total less than €109.65 per month – from the other parent.
ASF payments currently come to €116.11 for a child being supported by only one parent.