Services provided by the local government

The provision of social services, social benefits, emergency social assistance and other assistance is organised by the local government of the person’s place of residence as entered in the population register. Each of the local governments establishes a procedure for the provision of assistance, which must include a description of:

  • social services and social benefits, which the local government provides and pays;
  • who and under which conditions is entitled to receive social services and benefits.

Local governments may have different organisations and rules concerning social services and benefits, but the provided assistance must in a timely manner and flexibly satisfy the changing needs of a person, improve the quality of life and ensure equal opportunities for participation in the society.

Pursuant to the Social Welfare Act, a local government is obligated to provide 11 social services, apart from which also other social services may be arranged. 

In case a person needs assistance in their coping or their family’s coping, the social work specialist of the rural municipality or city government of the person’s residence must be contacted, who will then identify to what extent and which assistance the contacting person needs in solving the specific social problem.

The local government has a right to charge a fee for the provision of social services, the conditions and amount of which are decided by the local government. The amount of the fee depends on the volume of the social services and the economic situation of the person receiving the service, but the amount of the fee must not constitute an obstacle to receiving the service.

In case a person fails to receive the assistance they need or the provided assistance has a low quality, they will have a right to file a challenge with the county governor through the local authority. It is also possible to submit a complaint with an administrative court. 

Services provided by the local government

Domestic service

Domestic service is intended for people who need assistance in their home, i.e. assistance in activities that are essential for living at home, but which the person is not able to perform without personal assistance, for instance bringing firewood or water inside, assistance in cooking, cleaning, washing, etc. The person may be assisted within the framework of domestic services also outside the home if this is necessary for coping, for instance bringing food from the shop, taking the person to the doctor, etc. 

General care service provided outside the home

General care service provided outside the home is intended for person, who has temporary or permanent need for care that cannot be ensured at home. The person needs personal assistance in such an extent that the adaptation of the home or the provision of a domestic service remains insufficient to ensure the coping, security and quality of life of the person. The service is also intended for a person who is temporarily unable to cope at home due to reasons relating to the living environment, for instance, their relatives are unable to take care of them during a certain period of time. You can find an overview of authorities providing institutional care services from HERE (in Estonian). 

Support person service

Support person service is intended for a person, who needs significant personal assistance in performing their obligations and exercising their rights due to social, financial, psychological or health problems. Provided assistance includes guidance, motivation and development of greater independence and responsibility of the person. A support person is not a caregiver and care procedures solely for the purpose of curatorship are not among the duties of the support person. 

Curatorship of adults

Curatorship of adults is intended for a person, who, due to mental or physical disability, needs assistance in the exercise of their rights and the performance of their obligations. The duties of a curator are determined by the local government upon the establishment of the curatorship. Curatorship is established and a curator is appointed only with the consent of the person under curatorship. The local government pays to the curator of an adult a support, the amount of which depends on the degree of severity of the disability of the person under curatorship and conditions established by the local government. 

Personal assistant service

Personal assistant service is intended for adults, who need physical assistance due to a disability, in order to increase their independent coping ability and participation in all areas of life. A target group consists largely of people with a profound disability caused by a mobility and/or visual disorder. The service is suitable for people who are able to make decisions concerning their common mode of life and clearly and comprehensively instruct the assistant upon the organisation of administration. Therefore, the personal assistant service is not appropriate for children with disabilities. 

Shelter service

Shelter service is intended for adults who need emergency assistance, and may become subject to life and health threatening situation without receiving the assistance. The person in need of assistance must be ensured a bed, washing facilities and a safe environment within the framework of the service. 

Safe house service

Safe house service is intended for children, families with children, or adults who temporarily need a safe environment. The service must be available also for those who have fallen victim to physical, mental or sexual violence within intimate relationship and who have no other safe place to use. 

Social transport service

Social transport service is intended for people who need transport for working, studying or using public services, but whose disability hinders the use of a personal or public transport vehicle. The social transport service is necessary in cases where a person cannot use public transport or a personal vehicle, for instance, it is not possible to enter a bus or train by wheelchair and the person cannot drive a personal mean of transport due to a mobility or visual impairment.

Provision of dwelling service

Provision of dwelling service is intended for a person or family, who is unable, due to the socio-economic situation, to purchase a dwelling which corresponds to their needs or rent such a dwelling from the over-the-counter market.

Debt counselling service

Debt counselling service is intended for a person who needs assistance in identifying their financial situation, conducting negotiations with creditors and satisfying claims and resolving other problems related to debt. The objective of the service is also to avoid the creation of new debts. 

Childcare service

Childcare service is intended for a person who has the right of custody over a child aged between 1.5 and 3 years or over a person with a severe or profound disability aged up to 18 years, in order to support their ability to cope or work (in the case of a person with a severe or profound disability who have passed the age of 18 years, the childcare service can be provided until the end of the calendar year during which they reach the age of 18 years).

Last updated: 7 June 2017