1. Greece’s two systems of social assistance for the displaced – the humanitarian assistance they receive immediately and the social protection they are eligible for once recognised as refugees – are poorly integrated. Humanitarian assistance is funded by the European Union and was developed as distinct from the national social protection system.
2. Administered until 2021 by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and now run by the Ministry of Migration and Asylum, humanitarian assistance has addressed the emergency needs of the displaced only to the level of their most basic survival requirements, and sometimes not even those.
3. A coverage gap exists when moving from one system to the other. Asylum seekers stop receiving financial assistance as soon as they are recognised as refugees and lose access to accommodation within a month of being granted asylum, with many remaining without legal documents for several months.
4. Social protection is subject to strict eligibility criteria and complicated administrative requirements, making access difficult for recognised refugees. This leaves them in a worse position than asylum seekers and facing a high risk of social exclusion.
5. No matter how social assistance to the displaced population is organised – whether parallel, aligned or fully integrated into the national social protection system – the explicit or implicit political choices that shape social assistance determine outcomes. Within this context, it is premature to suggest a full integration of the social assistance systems in Greece without an in-depth review of integration and social inclusion policies.