Some of the special benefits introduced to support Ukrainian refugees – such as payments to households that host them and free use of public transport – are being withdrawn. The refugees are still, however, entitled to normal benefits available to other residents of Poland.
People who have taken refugees into their homes have, under a law passed in March, been entitled to daily payments of 40 zloty (€8.72). In April, the government estimated that 600,000 Ukrainians were benefiting from the payments.
But deputy interior minister Paweł Szefernaker announced on Monday that the benefit will no longer be available. “We will not be extending this allowance because we are convinced that many people in Poland are able to become independent and adapt,” Szefernaker told TVP Info.
He added that many Ukrainian refugees are already returning home, noting that since 10 May there have been more people crossing the border into Ukraine than into Poland.
There will, however, be exceptions made for individuals unable to function independently, such as disabled people, pregnant women and those with many children, whose hosts will continue to receive support, he added.
The same law in March also created a one-off payment of 300 zloty (€63) per person to be paid to Ukrainian refugees, as well as making it easier for Ukrainians to receive a national identity (PESEL) number, to work, and to access benefits, healthcare and education.
Meanwhile, from today, 1 June, free municipal public transport for Ukrainian refugees will end in many cities, including Warsaw, Kraków and the Upper Silesian metropolitan area around Katowice, reports Gazeta.pl. Free travel ended in the Tricity conurbation last month, but refugees in Wrocław will not have to pay for tickets until July.
Free train travel is also no longer available starting from today. An exception is made for Ukrainian women, children and senior citizens, as well as men with a disability, who can receive free second-class tickets for certain trains to and from towns and cities close to the border.
Motorway tolls, from which cars with Ukrainian registration plates had also been exempt since the beginning of the war, must also be paid from today onwards. Vehicles carrying humanitarian aid will still not have to pay, regardless of their country of registration and after prior arrangement, the infrastructure ministry confirmed.