Policy Document

An Act of 12 March 2004 (No. 64, Item 593) on Social Assistance








Long-term care

Main implications

Cash benefits from the Social Assistance System:

Fixed and short-term benefits could be claimed by individuals who were unable to work because of age (over 60 for women and over 65 for men) or disability, and who had an income that was below a certain level (varied for people who lived alone or with family). The benefit amount was defined as equal to the difference between the income criteria and the person’s income, or the family income per capita, and the benefit amount could not be higher than 418 PLN a month (18% of the average monthly income). There was no longer a supplement to the fixed benefit.

The care services provided through the Social Assistance System included the following:

As before, services were offered in Social Care Homes (SCH), which provided nursing, care services, and also recreational and educational activities; 

The SCHs could be run either publicly, i.e. by a municipality (gmina) or county (powiat); or privately, i.e. by a church, charity, private individual (osoba fizyczna), or legal entity (osoba prawna);

The monthly fees charged by a SCH could not exceed its average monthly maintenance costs1. The fees had to be paid by (in the following order): (1) the home’s residents, if they had an income (but not more than 70% of their monthly income); (2) family members (i.e. spouse, children, and grandchildren), if the residents had no income; or (3) the municipality;

Long-term care services for the elderly could also be provided through a Support Centre (Ośrodek Wsparcia), a semi-stationary institution that provided day care (the costs were fully covered by local government units; i.e. municipalities); or by a Family Care Home, (Rodzinny Dom Pomocy), which offered 24-hour home care service for a groups of three to eight people in a single residence. The monthly fee was defined by each institution (and was based on monthly maintenance costs)2;

Long-term care services could be also provided in the form of home-based care and specialist care services (opieka domowa i specialistyczne usługi opiekuńcze) offered at home, including assistance with all daily activities (shopping, cleaning, etc.) and care/nursing services. These services were provided for free or at a cost to the recipient, depending on the fee structure established by the municipality (the amount charged was based on the recipient’s income and the number of hours needed per day/week)3.

Benefits & Requirements

Coverage: Eligible groups or beneficiaries

People unable to live independently because of age, illness, or disability.

Read the Law

Original full text source in native language

Dziennik Ustaw z 12 Marca 2004 (Nr 64,  poz.593) [Journal of Law, 12 March 2004  (No.64, Item 593)]

Original full text web source in native language


Comments & Clarifications

1 The average monthly maintenance cost in an SCH was defined as the cost of maintaining the home over the past year (without investments costs), increased by the anticipated inflation indicator, divided by the number of SCH residents per each month over the past year (Koettl and Więckowska 2010). 2 Nevertheless, this type of LTC service (Family Care Homes) is not very popular in Poland, mainly because of the difficulties in meeting the standards and requirements for potential institutions (Koettl and Więckowska 2010). 3 If recipients could not afford the costs, care and medical services (together with medical/orthopaedic equipment) could also be provided for free by the municipality.

Secondary Literature & Sources

Secondary literature

Koettl, J., & Więckowska, B. "Polska: Kto będzie świadczyć oraz finansować opiekę nad osobami starszymi w przyszłości?" Pogłębiona analiza obecnych oraz przyszłych wydatków publicznych na opiekę długoterminową Raport Banku Światowego. Warsaw, sierpień (2010).


Agnieszka Chłoń-Domińczak, Anna Matysiak & Irena Kotowska
Institute of Statistics and Demography
Warsaw School of Economics

Data collected in the framework of the Population and Policy Database

Cite as

SPLASH-db.eu (2012): Policy: "An Act of 12 March 2004 (No. 64, Item 593) on Social Assistance" (Information provided by Agnieszka Chłoń-Domińczak, Anna Matysiak & Irena Kotowska). Available at: https://splash-db.eu [Date of access].