Relaxation of criteria for relief to help French nationals abroad
French nationals abroad – COVID-19/secours occasionnel de solidarité – Reply by the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs to two written questions in the National Assembly
Paris, 3 November 2020
The secours occasionnel de solidarité (SOS) scheme (1) was established at the beginning of May for our compatriots living abroad whom the coronavirus crisis has put in a particularly worrying situation of difficulty and left with no source of income or support from their families, friends or voluntary organizations. In this respect, such exceptional ad hoc support is still in keeping with the principle of social security payments under the Comité consulaire de protection et d’action sociale (CCPAS) system, which the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs has used for years.
Given the persistence of the crisis and in order to respond to growing demand prompted by the deteriorating economic situation reported by [consular] posts and elected representatives in many countries, it very soon became necessary, over the summer, to relax the criteria for awarding SOS payments in order to allow a greater number of French people in difficulty to access them. In July, following the passing by Parliament in the third additional budget act of a €50-million package allocated to social support for French nationals abroad, a first relaxing of the criteria for granting this ad hoc relief led to the doing away with the criterion whereby SOS payments had to be compatible with support from families, friends or voluntary organizations.
These criteria were relaxed for a second time at the beginning of September. Among other things, this does away with the requirement for payments to be made on an ad hoc basis or to be compatible with local public assistance. Up to four monthly SOS payments can now be made before the end of 2020 regardless of whether claimants have already benefited from the scheme. Likewise, it is now possible for SOS payments to be made even if our compatriots are or have been able to benefit from local support./.
(1) ad hoc relief for French people living abroad who have lost revenue because of the COVID-19 pandemic.