Social support & services
Social services are services provided by municipal authorities to their residents, such as the elderly and the disabled.
Social services include such things as providing people with accommodation or financial support where needed.
Foreign nationals who accept financial support could risk seeing their residence permit not renewed.
Municipal authorities are obliged to provide their residents with the necessary support to ensure that they do not get into a situation where they are unable to resolve their own affairs. Municipal social affairs committees and boards are responsible for providing social services and are also obliged to provide advice in social matters.
Individuals should first approach their municipal authorities if they get into difficulties and apply to them before applying elsewhere. If an application is rejected, an appeal may be lodged with the Social Affairs Complaints Committee within four weeks of the decision being communicated. Those who are not entitled to financial support from municipal authorities may apply to other bodies or associations.
A resident of the municipality is any person who is legally domiciled in the municipality, irrespective of whether they are an Icelandic or foreign national. Foreign nationals have the same rights as Icelandic nationals as regards social services (provided that they are legally domiciled in the municipality). Anybody staying or intending to stay in Iceland for six months or longer must have their legal domicile in Iceland.
Foreign nationals who get into financial or social difficulties and are not legally domiciled in Iceland can also apply to the relevant embassy or consul. It should be borne in mind that financial support from municipal authorities may affect applications for extending a residence permit, applications for a permanent residence permit and applications for citizenship.
By law, the disabled are entitled to general services and assistance. They shall have equal rights and enjoy living standards comparable to other members of society.
The Center for aid equipment at the Social Insurance Administration is responsible for issuing aid equipment to the disabled, and provides consultancy services. The approval of the Social Insurance Administration is required for contributions towards the cost of purchasing aid equipment.
Parents of disabled children and those providing children with services can borrow specialised development toys from toy collections maintained by the regional offices. The offices also provide various other services and parenting advice. Disabled children and their families can seek the services of a support family. A child can stay with a support family for two to three days a month. The regional offices for the disabled provide further information on how to become a support family or obtain the services of a support family.
Summer camps for disabled children are available in some locations in Iceland and are run by local authorities, non-profit organisations, or individuals.
The disabled can apply for a parking card that allows them to park vehicles in parking spaces reserved for the disabled. Applications for such cards are processed by Chiefs of Police and District Commissioners.
Some of the larger municipalities operate travel services for the disabled. Such services must be ordered in advance. Rules on the number of trips and the charges, if any, for the service differ between municipalities.
Passengers with disabilities travelling by air are entitled to a certain degree of assistance, free of charge, to navigate airports, as well as to special arrangements during the flight.
Disabled people are offered social home services and social assistance by the larger municipalities.
Some municipalities offer sports and leisure activities and other types of activities for the disabled.