Ass, rsa...kgb?!

Hi all,

Happy New Year to everyone :)

I received a lovely message on the 1st January from Pôle Emploi informing me that as of the 28th January 2013, I was no longer entitled to unemployment benefit. Happy New Year to Me! Especially as they found a way to pinch 78 days of my entitlement from me!!!

So I now have to fill in a form to ask for the Allocation Solidarité Sécifique aka ASS. The problem is that they require 10 years work history with proof of employment if one has been overseas. My proof of UK employment, (which was basically one company) is currently in a small box, among many others, in my sister's attic, in Northamptonshire.

I have all of my tax forms and code notices and I can probably get my old employer to supply me with an equivalent of the "Certificat de Travail" that they want as proof.

I have worked for 10 years in France and have all the paperwork, but not consecutively so it doesn't count.

Has anyone had any experience of this or know of anything that I could do to make the process simpler?

The annoying part is that I only need to benefit from this for 3 weeks before I will be starting my new job. I did think about getting some interim work and avoiding the whole palava but I need to be on-site at the hotel during the day for the workmen and the repairs that are being done, not to mention the 72 rooms that I need to clean and all the carpets that need shampooing once the electricty is up and running.

Thanks in advance for any advice :)

Well, you've paid into the system so get something out, but it's obviously up to you.

As long as I can find an alternative way of paying my bills, I will happily forget it! Am working on that now! ;)

Thanks Conor,

I hadn't thought of contacting the Embassy. I will see what Pôle Emploi and the CAF say tomorrow and take it from there. :)

Personally, I think you need to go for RMI, unless you have no time and/or are not bothered about losing three weeks' benefit, which would about to maybe €400/€500.

If you pay in to the system, you should be able to get something back out when you are entitled to.

The criteria seem to be straightforward:

Eligibility for RMI

The recipient of RMI must fulfil the following conditions:

  • be older than 25 or have children;
  • must commit to finding work within 3 months of the first payment of benefit;
  • live in France and, for non-EU nationals, have proof of having lived there for a minimum of five years;
  • not be a pupil, student, or in work experience;
  • not be married, in a civil union or a domestic partnership with someone who does not him/herself fulfil those conditions.'insertion (link won't work, you'll have to cut and paste).

The RMI may have changed names -- I forget what to -- but presumably the conditions haven't changed too much. Good luck with it, and when you're faced with gormless, unhelpful civil servants, ask yourself, "What would Gandhi do?" and not gun them down. Otherwise, a registered letter always obtains a quick reply!

And then, there's always your Embassy or local Consulate to advise you -- that's their job.

Advice? Forget about ASS:life's too short. Especially with all those carpets to clean.

On a smallish (less than 100 sq. metre) house, we (me and my partner) pay about €300 in taxe d'habitation, which seems fair enough for rubbish collection, water supply and wastewater processing.

€4,000 sure sounds like a huge amount -- have you checked it (which I know is hell on Earth, as these documents are written terribly and the system explained badly, or in an accompanying 20-page booklet like the income tax return accompanying document!) or have someone check it? Often they get these things wrong.

And with that amount of money involved, it's well worth getting an accountant to look at it for €50 or €100 or whatever the fee might be.

Nonsense in government departments -- with you on that one. The point I'm at, after ten years, as someone on the left politically, is that I'm happy enough to hand over 20% or so of my income (as an auto-entrepreneur) plus a few bits and pieces (CFE, taxe d'habitation), it's just that dealing with those idiots when anything slightly complex crops up is hellish. Like a payment to Urssaf made in August for Q2 being set against my bill for Q3, with penalties listed for late payment for Q2. When that kind of thing happens now, I just ignore the letter and hope that at some point they will switch on their brains and sort it out.

Otherwise I believe that these matters can be brought before the Tribunaux Administratifs (not 100% sure), which where I might be headed in a dispute with Cipav (my former pension fund body), in which they have NEVER sent me a statement outlining how many "annuités" (payments for each year worked) I have paid, which in turn determines when I can retire, 40 being the minimum, I think.


(Hope this helps -- it sure is nice to vent in this forum. I joined SFN only recently.)

In that case I think the wording is wrong, i.e. "community charges". €4,000 to Urssaf as a self-employed person maybe, over a year, or for a quarter if you're making big bucks, but certainly not in CFE (business tax which is indeed distributed to the local mairie, conseil régional and conseil général, and local Chambers of Commerce and Industry).

Often if we realise where the money is going, it's less pain to hand it over. But as people from English-speaking cultures, 20% social insurance charges and minimal or no income tax (for low earners -- I even got a "prime pour l'emploi" last year despite making quite decent money, because of the way the system works -- abattement, or automatic allowance for expenses, I think you could call it in English) comes as very strange and foreign to us.

taxe fonciere + taxe habitation for a house , fairly large gite & pool amounts to just under 4000 euro for property tax and then ....

Income from the gite will get taxed on my return in may and then .......

other income eg i do some caretaking for local 2nd homeowners is via the autoentrepeneur set up.......

so i get really pissed off with all the nonsense that goes on in the Government departments / civil service etc

"4000 euro in community taxes"

At a guess I think that comes about from having a business in France and daring to be an entrepeneur with the cotisations that can attract so we can pay for the unemployed etc etc :-(

what do you mean "avantages de corps"...which is a big legend...

one of the definitions of parasite = a person who is lazy and lives by other people working, giving them money, etc

re your point which suggested we come here for benefits / healthcare etc its so misguided , google it and you will see that the UK is the most generous and benefits are easy to obtain & healthcare is 100 % free.

personally i came here to find a better lifestyle . climate , live mortgage free in a bigger house and land than the same money would buy in the uk.

unfortunately in 2003 when we bought there wasnt as much information available to let people know what it is like to live here - if there was then lots of us would have went eleswhere no doubt and spent our money in another country.

whilst this is a site for expats i welcome the input of the French even if we will never agree on all matters

It's true that there are various categories of civil servant in France -- too complicated for our small Anglophone minds to comprehend (joke!).

All I will say is that I know civil servants (local ones, I think) who have seven or eight weeks of holidays, and that, coming from our cultures, is utter madness, since we get four in our own countries, and most people in France in the private sector, I believe, get six.

(In the US it's two, I've heard. TWO! TWO!! TWO!!! Yes, two.)

"4000 euro in community taxes"

"Tarif touriste" as they say? That's madness. Taxe d'habitation and/or foncière? Our's is €300 or so.

Teachers in France are civil Servants...sorry to tell you... Employed by the state...People in "mairies" are not Fonctionnaires d'Etât but Fonctionnaires Territoriaux...not the same status..When you speak of Civil Servants you need to be cautious about who you are calling a Civil Servant...Now there are bad people everywhere...even in the Private sector I found my lot...but it's all too easy to criticize the civil service as responsible for the ills of a country...easy target....and that is very boring...And people who don't know the system agree with that because we are supposed to have "avantages de corps"...which is a big legend...

Totally agree with you on being able to employ more teachers and update facilities for learning! Like! :)

I would happily pay tax as it would mean I was earning a living wage. I pay my mutuelle each month like everyone else. I am not complaining. I chose to live here. I am merely making a point. And I agree, best that we agree to disagree.

No one can understand another person's situation, if they have not lived it themselves. I consider myself lucky compared to what other people are living but I pay my "cotisations" and therefore expect the same benefits that I have contributed to, to be available to me as well as to everyone else.

Jean Louis

every time i deal with the marie they dont have the answer and say go to the prefecture in Agen or the sub prefecture in Marmande ! so i am paying around 4000 euro in community taxes for shoddy service.

when i have had to deal with hotel de ville or other civil servants the attitude has varied from rude and unhelpful to incompetent & disinterested.

My local tresor where i pay the rip off taxes is staffed by ignorant workers with sloppy attitudes - files and papers littered all over , dirty cups on the desks along with all sorts of non official stuff , filing cupboards with all the doors open and files all spilling out.The workers are dressed like they are off to a car boot sale not office staff.

We are all paying for it - you too

so thats why i view them as parasites

Teachers work in Education and not in the civil service so please dont play the offended card - instead you could consider how many extra teachers could be employed with the money or even decent facilities and up to date school books.

@ Damaris: 27 lines, there you go!!! Napoleon's fault, I have been told. Maybe an obsession with fairness over and above simplicity. But in any case it's cultural and we as foreigners just have to try and deal with it. After 10 years here on this stint I have finally decided just to adhere to the system and the often inefficient people who run it at the fisc, Urssaf, SNCF ticket inspectors, etc. It's up to us to adjust and not them, obviously.

As far as I'm aware, the RSA doesn't have anything to do with paying rent, but to be honest my knowledge of the system comes through friends and is not direct experience.

I would think there are basically four lines on an Irish payslip (no jokes please): gross pay, pay-as-you-earn (PAYE) income tax (simple compared to the French way, no September blues), social insurance contributions (PRSI), and net pay.

@ Jean-Louis: I think the very vast majority of us are here for the food and wine, the great scenery, the relaxed lifestyle, in some cases the love and friendship of French people in short all of the things that still make France a great place to live and a great country.

When people refer to civil servants as parasites, we are referring not to the likes of nurses, doctors and teachers, rather to desk-jockeys who spend their time on the internet while creating little hells for the likes of us.

For those of us who have had the doubtful pleasure of going to see Urssaf, we will never have seen a more relaxed working environment in our lives. Barely a civilian "customer" in sight, people wandering around from office to office as laid-back as if they were going to get a can of beer from the fridge, and when you ask them to do something for you, they need to go and ask their neighbour how to use the software.

(I wonder how much of the madness that goes on at the Urssaf and the fisc and the likes -- garbled and factually-incorrect letters, tax bills for zero euros (we had one recently), general insane happenings -- is down to poorly-designed software.)

That was exactly what I was thinking. I will just grit my teeth, live on the tins and pasta in the pantry and leave the car where it is parked. It is only for 3 weeks after all and I have a roof over my head, which is more than many do.

Same on mine...and?? What's your point? Too much taxes? Well, then at least you can have an education, cares, and many other things for almost nothing...Will stop with that discussion now...