Benefits in France: revenu de solidarité active (RSA) for work seekers

The means-tested payment supports those with little or no income while they get back into work

From January 1 2024, recipients must be registered with the job centre (previously called Pôle Emploi now France Travail)
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The recently reformed revenu de solidarité active (RSA) benefit aims to support people who are getting back into work, either by finding a job or setting up a business.

What is RSA?

This benefit is for residents under the age of 62 who have little or no income.

It can act as a supplement for working people who earn low wages or independent workers with low incomes.

A recent reform means that from January 1, recipients must be registered with the job centre and must spend 15 hours a week in training or preparation for work.

Read more: French jobseeker rebrand aims to inspire ‘active’ take on employment

Who can apply?

You must be aged between 25 and 62.

Under certain conditions, adults aged 18 to 24 who are young parents or have worked for at least three years may claim a young person’s RSA.

Non-French nationals must usually have held a residency permit allowing them to work for at least five years (this limit does not apply to Brexit Withdrawal Agreement card holders) or must have a carte de résident (a card renewable only every 10 years).

How much is the RSA payment?

RSA is a flat-rate, means-tested benefit.

A person’s marital status and whether they have dependent children are relevant factors.

Every source of a household’s revenue is taken into account, including overtime, holiday pay, any other benefits and even financial gifts.

The flat rate is calculated by deducting a household’s income from a fixed amount.

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Scenarios affecting amount of benefit paid

Until March, for a single person with no children or housing benefit, the RSA amount will be €608 a month, rising to €1,337 if they have three children.

For those who claim housing benefit in the same situations, the minimum RSA payment is €535 and the maximum €1,157.

For a couple claiming no housing benefit and with no children, the minimum would be €912, rising to €1,519 if they have three children.

Couples claiming housing benefit with no children can expect a minimum RSA payment of €766 while those with three children would get €1,339.

Families with more than three children will receive €243 per additional child.

For single parents who declare a pregnancy, give birth or take charge of a child, or who are separated, divorced or widowed, increased RSA is available for 12 months.

This simulator will help determine if you are eligible.

Where to apply

Apply at the Caisse d’allocations familiales (Caf) or social services of the department council where you live, using this form, or apply online here.

To renew your application, you must declare your income every three months.

Good to know

RSA recipients must be looking for a job, setting up a business or be on work-related training courses.

Sanctions, including partial or full suspension of RSA payments, can be imposed on those who do not comply.

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