Material distress


December 3, 2021

Material deprivation is a situation where a person, a citizen, does not have sufficient income to ensure basic living conditions by his or her own efforts. A citizen who is unable to meet these conditions by his own fault or with the help of his family (typically due to low income) and does not even have property whose sale, rental or other use could raise funds to meet his needs is usually entitled to assistance in developed countries. from the state. The socially recognized income limit of a citizen, below which a state of material need occurs, is the so-called subsistence minimum, which is set by a legal norm. A characteristic form of such social assistance is cash and in-kind benefits.


Material deprivation is closely related to the concepts of poverty and subsistence. Poverty indicates a lack of material resources and is a general term that is not exactly defined. The World Bank often uses the definition of a person who survives on an income of $ 1.25, but this definition is not appropriate for developed countries, where this income does not describe poverty accurately enough. Material deprivation could be described as a state of special poverty. In absolute poverty, one is unable to meet one's most basic needs, such as food, clothing and housing. Material deprivation directly describes a situation in which the lack of material resources begins to limit the provision of basic living conditions. There may be confusion with the term subsistence minimum. This, like material deprivation, is defined in law. The subsistence minimum is the minimum level of monetary income of natural persons to provide for food and other basic personal needs. In fact, the subsistence minimum is used to assess material deprivation. However, material deprivation is assessed together with the income and social and property conditions of other persons. This wording occurs in law. The relationships of other people most often refer to household members and family members, especially children. Unlike the subsistence level, which takes into account only individual individuals.

Material need in the law

The need to define this term in the law follows from the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms, which was adopted in 1992 and which is part of the Czech constitutional order. Article 30, cited below, mentions the concept of material deprivation in paragraph 2. The term “material need” for the Czech legal system is defined by Act No. 111/2006 Coll., On Assistance in Material Need, effective from 1 January 2007. Unlike the subsistence minimum, which is precisely defined in the law, to assess material need the law takes into account many factors.

Who is in material need

Section 2 of the Act on Assistance in Material Need defines several cases in which a natural person can be considered in a state of material need. There is a person in material need who: whose income and the income of the persons assessed do not reach the subsistence amount. it reaches a livelihood, but is at risk of injury due to its overall wealth. a serious emergency is affected and its overall social and property situation is such that it does not allow it to overcome the unfavorable situation on its own. This is most often a natural disaster or an industrial accident. does not have sufficient funds to cover the necessary one-off expenses, most often the payment of administrative fees, the repair of durable goods and reimbursement related to the child's education. due to the unsatisfactory social background, she cannot solve her situation on her own and is at risk of social exclusion.

Who is not in material need

The law stipulates which conditions must not occur in order for a person to be considered in material need. These conditions are regulated by Section 3 of the Act on Assistance in Material Need. Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs

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