Social Services

Aim & Outcomes: The training in this session will provide an opportunity to the SE consultant to acquire knowledge for the different types of social services, the current legislation (laws and regulations) which regulates them, the public authorities that have competence in the area of social services, as well as for existing providers of these services.


Types of social services:

The “social services” are defined as activities that enhance and extend the capabilities of persons to lead an independent life; they are carried out in specialized institutions and in the community.

The legal definition also considered social services such as activities aimed at supporting the assisted persons to conduct an adequate existence and for social inclusion in the society. The social integration of persons is an essential element of each social service, which should be developed and delivered in a way that ensures to the person an independent life (not putting the person in dependence of the service, respectively of the institution).

According to the Bulgarian legislation, the social services are divided into two groups, depending on the environment in which they are provided:

  • Social services, provided in the community;
  • Social services, provided in specialized institutions.

Social services within the community are services provided in a family environment or in an environment close to the family one. Social services provided in the community are: Personal assistant; Social assistant; Home assistant; Home care service; Daily center; Centre for social rehabilitation and integration; Centre for temporary accommodation; Foster care; Crisis center; Center for family- type accommodation; Sheltered homes; Public canteens.

  • Personal assistant is a person who takes care of a child or an adult with permanent disability or serious disease to satisfy his/ her daily needs.
  • Social assistant is a person who provides a range of services aimed at social work and counseling for the clients and associated with satisfying the needs from the leisure time organization and establishing social contacts.
  • Home assistant is a person who provides services at home, aimed at maintaining the hygiene of the house, shopping, cooking, laundry and other public utility activities.

Specialized institutions for provision of social services are: homes for children or young people with disabilities; homes for adults with disabilities; social educational and professional centers; nursing homes; shelters; homes for temporary accommodation.

Current legislation: The issues related to the delivery of social services are regulated by the Social Assistance Act.

State authorities that are empowered in the field of social services

The State and the municipalities provide social services under the Social Assistance Act, and governmental and municipal authorities exercise guiding, coordinating and controlling functions in the field of social assistance and services.

  • Council of Ministers - determines government policy in social assistance.
  • Ministry of Labour and Social Policy - a specialized body of the Council of Ministers for management, coordination and control in the field of social services.

The activities related to the social policy shall be implemented by the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy in cooperation with municipalities and non- profit organizations pursuing charity and other humanitarian purposes. For the realization of this cooperation the Council for Social Assistance is established, chaired by the Minister of Labour and Social Policy.

  • Agency for Social Assistance - a body established under the Minister of Labour and Social Policy to implement the state policy in the field of social assistance.


  • Regional Directorates for Social Assistance - territorial divisions of the Agency for Social Assistance, established in the regional administrative centers.


  • Directorates "Social Assistance" - specialized body for social assistance in the territory of each municipality.


  • Inspectorate - created to the Executive Director of the Agency for Social Assistance for realizing a specialized control of the lawful application of legislation in the field of social assistance.



Who can offer social services?

According to the Social Assistance Act, the social services are provided by the State, municipalities, individuals, registered under the Commercial Law and legal entities which are called "Providers of social services". The social services are provided in accordance with the will and personal choice of individuals. In some specific cases the State or the Municipality can delegate the management, coordination and provision of certain social services to the third sector organisations.

Specific country aspects- Austria

List of state authorities that are empowered in the field of social services:


Dabei-Austria is constituted as a non-profit association and is based in Vienna.
The association advocates giving people with disabilities a fair chance of professional integration into the open employment market, in other words, offering young people valuable perspectives in regard to their future professional lives.
A pool of service providers offering occupational orientation and integration, the organization combines these resources on a federal level and represents their interests to policy makers, administrators and businesses.

Sozialministeriumservice Landesstelle Steiermark

Ministry of Social Affairs Service Office in Styria; the funding authority in the field of “Work Assistance, Youth and Job coaching”.

Public Employment Service Austria: The Austrian Public Employment Service (AMS) is Austria’s leading provider of labour-market related services. We match candidates with job openings and assist jobseekers and companies who turn to us by offering advice, information, qualification opportunities and financial assistance.  Within the framework of the Federal Government’s policy of full employment, the AMS renders a major contribution to preventing and eradicating unemployment in Austria. Commissioned by the Federal Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Consumer protection, the AMS assumes its role as an enterprise under public law in close cooperation with labour and employers’ organisations.


Specific country aspects- Spain

List of state authorities that are empowered in the field of social services:

  • The Office of Attention to Disability (OADIS) is responsible for promoting equal opportunities, non-discrimination and universal accessibility for people with disabilities. This body under the National Council on Disability.

The OADIS receives inquiries, complaints and reports of people with disabilities, or of associations and institutions related to them, who believe they have been discriminated against by the obligations of the General Law on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its social inclusion have failed.

  • The Spanish Association of Supported Employment (AESE) is to promote the development of Supported Employment in Spain and in Latin America, so that more and more people with disabilities or at risk of social exclusion that can successfully access to employment integrated, and thus, can be recognized in practice as citizens with full rights.
  • The special employment centers (A regional level) - Public


Specific country aspects- Turkey

Social benefits given to persons with disabilities, who are not able to work or cannot find a job in accordance with Law no. 2022, were increased between rates of 200 - 300 % and thus brought to a more reasonable level. Besides, the scope of the benefits was also expanded.

Persons with disabilities who run their own businesses and mothers with children with disabilities in need of special care were given the opportunity of early retirement.

Immovable properties belonging to persons with disabilities measuring 200 m2 at maximum were exempted from Property Tax. Furthermore, physical arrangements to be made in buildings were facilitated.

In Turkey, the rights of people with disabilities are legally protected: the government guarantees equal educational and employment opportunities and four percent of civil servants have to be people with a disability.

In the private sector where a company has 50 employees, three percent of those employees must be people with a disability.

A person with a disability cannot be asked to work underground or underwater, or work any night shifts. A working mother who has a child with a disability may take early retirement.

Benefits for People with a Disability

A person with a disability is entitled to have certain costs reimbursed, either partially or fully depending on the Social Security department with which they are registered. This can include disability equipment such as wheelchairs and aids for hearing impairment, or care in an institution or at home.

Individuals with a disability can benefit from income tax rebates and are exempted from paying motor vehicle tax (Motorlu Tasitlar Vergisi).

People with a disability are also entitled to allowances. However, these are generally only paid to Turkish citizens:

  1. Disability Allowance (Özürlü Ayligi): paid by Social Security

2. Allowance for a Person in Need (Muhtaç Ayligi): paid by the Directorate General of Foundations