UNICEF reaches 23,000 families with cash assistance in Slovakia
Through five cash schemes, UNICEF ensures that refugee children and their families can attend to their basic needs.
The escalation of war in Ukraine resulted in the largest refugee crisis experienced by Europe since the second World War. Over 7.7 million people fled the country scattering across Europe. One million Ukrainians transited through Slovakia and 100,000 applied for Temporary Protection in the country.
The situation of children and caregivers uprooted by the war was, and to some extent remains, challenging. Many of them arrived in Slovakia exhausted and traumatized and with limited means to get by. Now in a new country and unable to provide for themselves and their families, many Ukrainian parents and caregivers were facing financial hardship, obliged to rely on their savings or support from family and friends until they could find new jobs.
For some of them finding employment was not an even option - for instance mothers and carers of children with disabilities, single-headed families with multiple children or small children were unable to find care options for their children and found themselves quickly eroding their savings. For all of them receiving cash assistance was crucial to make ends meet.
Five cash schemes at a glance
In Slovakia, the Ministry of Labor, Social Affairs and Family provides comprehensive social protection cash assistance benefits to vulnerable households under the Government of Slovakia’s Material Needs Benefit and several other programmes.
However, given the number of refugees that needed to be supported and the complexity of the registration process, the Government of Slovakia requested that the international community steps in to temporarily support the enrolment of new refugee applications and the provision of short-term emergency cash assistance.
In 2022, five types of cash assistance were supported by UNICEF for the Ukraine refugee response in Slovakia.
- Material Needs Benefit Assistance – This temporary programme helped Ukrainian refugees to meet their own material needs in Slovakia. This assistance was delivered by UNHCR and UNICEF jointly, with UNICEF covering 40% of the caseload.
- Carer’s Benefits for Children with Specific Needs – Under both Slovak and Ukrainian law, children with severe disabilities and health conditions are entitled to have a carer. This benefit aims to ease the financial burden on families, freeing up carers to support their children considering their reduced opportunities to take up paid work.
- Cash for Child Development and Education – This temporary programme supports the return of Ukrainian refugee children and adolescents to learning. This assistance is delivered by UNICEF to refugee families who registered their child or children via UNHCR. The assistance is partially replicating the Slovak child allowance, which is available to all Slovak children.
- Winterization – The temporary programme supports Ukrainian refugees with a one-time annual emergency transfer to cover winter-related expenses (blankets, winter clothes, utilities, etc.). The assistance is delivered by UNICEF and UNHCR to Ukrainian refugee families who registered via UNHCR. UNICEF covers 50% of the caseload.
- Benefits for Adults with Specific Needs – This programme supports adults with disabilities and specific needs. The temporary cash assistance was delivered by UNICEF and IOM to eligible carers of adults with disabilities or adults with specific needs who registered via UNHCR to promote participation and free up the time of carers. UNICEF provided support to households with children, covering 17% of the total caseload.
Expression of thanks
The results achieved through UNICEF’s humanitarian cash assistance programme in Slovakia would not have been possible without the generous financial support of the Government of the United States, the German Federal Foreign Office and the United States Fund for UNICEF.