Financial social assistance
Anyone who is unable to support themselves may apply for social assistance. This assistance may take the form of financial contributions, a loan or a guarantee for a loan. Financial social assistance must, first and foremost, be a temporary grant, and the intention is that the person seeking such assistance will in time be in a better position to help themselves. Applications for social assistance should be sent to the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration (NAV) office in the municipality.
To apply for social assistance, you must first have exhausted your own means of supporting yourself, or you must have exhausted your financial rights – for example, your welfare rights. The primary responsibility for social services lies with the municipalities, and it is the NAV offices that see to the municipality’s tasks within this field. Although there are advisory guidelines regarding how much support each individual may be granted, the municipalities have a right and obligation to use discretion and assess each case on its own merits.
The County Governor’s responsibilities
If you apply for social assistance and are refused this by NAV, you have a right to appeal this decision. Appeals should be sent to NAV, which will refer this on to the County Governor.
The County Governor has a supervisory authority, which means it has a right and an obligation to supervise whether the municipality is fulfilling its obligations under chapter 4 of the Act on Social Services in the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration. Chapter 4 governs the individual services covered by the Act, including financial support.
Each municipality must offer its residents financial advice or debt counselling. This counselling service is often affiliated with the local NAV office, and it is administered in accordance with the Social Services Act. The County Governor’s responsibilities are aimed at municipalities and involve, among other things, offering training and courses to municipal employees.