An official announcement by UNHCR Syria
UNHCR Syria has been fortunate to be able to provide a stable cash assistance programme for refugees and asylum-seekers for the last 8 years. However, further to announcements earlier this year, UNHCR regrets having to inform you that funding for our programme in Syria remains much reduced, requiring the following changes to the cash assistance programme for refugees and asylum-seekers in Syria:
Until 1 March 2018:
To help refugees and asylum-seekers as much as possible, up until 1 March 2018, the Cash-For-Food and Financial Assistance programmes will continue to be provided to refugees in all locations as well as urban asylum-seekers in Hassakeh governorate who meet the current vulnerability criteria, but at the formerly announced reduced amounts.
Asylum-seekers in all locations who have been registered with UNHCR after 30 June 2017 are no longer eligible for cash assistance; they may be included once their refugee status has been determined positively and they are found to meet the specific vulnerability criteria for the cash assistance.
As of 1 March 2018:
Starting from 1 March 2018, the current Cash-for-Food and Financial Assistance programmes will end. In their place, one single cash assistance programme will be introduced, namely a Multi-Purpose Cash Grant. This Multi-Purpose Cash Grant will only be provided to the most vulnerable refugee households in Syria.
However, urban asylum-seekers in Hassakeh governorate will continue to receive the Cash-for-Food assistance as they are not undergoing refugee status determination and can therefore not become eligible for the Multi-Purpose Cash Grant; all other asylum-seekers will not be eligible for the Multi-Purpose Cash Grant or any other form of financial assistance until they are granted refugee status and if they meet the specific vulnerability criteria.
Determination of vulnerability:
The determination of the most vulnerable refugee/asylum-seeker households is made taking into account the particular situation of each individual as well as their entire family by using information on their particular vulnerabilities that has already been collected by UNHCR at the point of registration and/or during later assessments. In order to determine each family’s vulnerability, in comparison to all others, a ratio is being established for each family, by comparing the number of family members who are deemed particularly vulnerable and those who are not or less vulnerable. As a result, those families with a greater number of particularly vulnerable family members (and smaller number of not/less vulnerable family members) are deemed more vulnerable, and in need of UNHCR’s financial support, than a family with a smaller number of particularly vulnerable family members (and more not/less vulnerable family members).
In this context, UNHCR Syria considers the following individuals as particularly vulnerable when assessing the overall vulnerability of the family:
At the beginning of 2018, the initial vulnerability assessment of refugees in all locations and urban asylum-seekers in Hassakeh governorate will be carried out based on available information with UNHCR through a Desk Review, i.e. without conducting individual interviews.
Those who are found not to meet the eligibility criteria will be informed by an SMS text message. If the individual/family who has received this message can present new information confirming that s/he or a family member suffers from a severe disability or chronic disease that is not yet known to UNHCR, s/he can request an appointment for an interview to assess their case through the Hotline: 0992898197 open from 9:00 am – 2.30 pm.
Please do not come to the office without an appointment. Please note that if no such new information is available, the assessment will not result in a finding of eligibility for cash assistance.
Those individuals/families who do not receive this SMS will be required to participate in an individual vulnerability assessment to confirm their continued eligibility for cash assistance whenever they come to a UNHCR office for their ID card renewal or any other business.
For this assessment, only individuals/family members who are between 19 and 59 years old and who are not known by UNHCR to be suffering from a severe disability or chronic disease, have to be present. Those individuals who are below 19 years or above 59 years of age or for whom UNHCR already has information that they are suffering from a severe disability/chronic disease will be considered automatically as vulnerable; this information will be considered when calculating the overall vulnerability of each family. In addition, older persons or persons with disability without any family members to provide care, and female-headed households with at least one minor child and no other family members to support them will not have to undergo an assessment as they are automatically considered as vulnerable.
Please make sure to bring the following documents along for the assessment:
Following this vulnerability assessment, refugees and urban asylum-seekers in Hassakeh will be informed by SMS text message, whether or not they will be eligible for cash assistance with effect from the next payment cycle (every second month).
To those whose eligibility has been communicated, a subsequent SMS text message will be sent informing them when the assistance can be collected.
The amount to be paid for those found eligible for the Multi-Purpose Cash Grant will be 40,000 SYP/month for the head of the household, in addition to 10,000 SYP/month for each family member. Urban asylum-seekers in Hassakeh governorate who are found to be vulnerable will receive 7,000 SYP/month for each family member.
Upon finalization of this initial assessment, future annual assessments will also be combined with other/regular visits that each family has to make to the UNHCR offices, for instance for the renewal of their ID cards.
Overall, this process will permit UNHCR to prioritize the financial assistance programme for the most vulnerable refugees/urban asylum-seekers in Hassakeh governorate and their families.
We are fully aware of the problems this will cause for you and your family but we kindly ask for your understanding, since this decision had to be made because of the severe reduction of UNHCR’s budget in Syria and in order to maintain support for the most vulnerable individuals/families. Moreover, the new approach follows the practice in other UNHCR operations in the region and is implemented by UNHCR Damascus office for all UNHCR offices in Syria.
All other forms of UNHCR assistance and services will continue, such as access to basic health care through clinics operated by UNHCR’s partners, protection and legal services. Additionally, protection services offered at UNHCR’s community centres throughout the country are available to refugees and asylum-seekers. For a list of UNHCR’s community centres in your area, please see the community centre information sheet available at UNHCR offices and with outreach volunteers.