Swiss Solidarity – social aid for individuals and families in Switzerland

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Swiss Solidarity assists within its means individuals and families in Switzerland that are in great financial need. This aid consists of one-off financial contributions to top up support provided by public and private institutions. Applications must be submitted by the public social services or a private social welfare organization. Direct applications by persons requesting assistance cannot be taken into consideration. Swiss Solidarity’s Swiss social aid funds do not support institutions:

  • Permanent campaign «Swiss Social Aid»

Administered by Swiss Solidarity, a special private fund for children in need complements the organisation’s individual social assistance work in Switzerland:

  • Permanent campaign for child aid «Cala Sannitica»

Each fund is governed by its own policies and clearly defined criteria for support.

There is no entitlement to financial support in individual cases. Each application is considered, and approval is only given if all criteria of the relevant fund are fulfilled.

Principles of assistance: providing support in emergencies 

  • Emergency: As a general rule, support is given in response to an exceptional incident that has a serious impact on the social and/or economic circumstances and/or physical or mental health of an individual or family.
  • Support: Aid is given (with the exception of the Cala Sannitica fund) as a one-off contribution. Swiss Solidarity does not consider applications for regular aid or assistance sought for a specified duration. The assistance should contribute to overcoming or resolving the problem caused by the emergency. If the situation is too complex, the aid must be integrated wherever possible into a support strategy targeted at overcoming the problem.
  • Subsidiarity: Support cannot be given until the dossier has been assessed by the public social services or a private social aid organization and the social and financial situation of the applicant(s) and their claim to support has been clarified. The social worker submitting the application must be able to answer the following questions: What would happen if Swiss Solidarity did not provide assistance? What consequences would this have for the applicant(s)?
  • Availability of financial resources: There is no legal claim to individual support. Support is always dependent on the resources available to the fund, and the extent of the aid given depends on the number of household members. 

Who does Swiss Solidarity support? 

Anyone fulfilling the following criteria – irrespective of their nationality, age, gender or religion – can apply for Swiss Solidarity’s support.

  • have residence in Switzerland
  • have received no previous support from Swiss Solidarity
  • have access to financial resources for monthly living costs that do not exceed the limit set by Swiss Solidarity
  • The application must meet the Swiss Solidarity criteria 

Maximum monthly budget 

In order to calculate the monthly budget, Swiss Solidarity takes into account all income and expenditure of the household members, including children.

Should the household income exceed the relevant threshold on Swiss Solidarity’s scale (this is based on the guidelines for determining minimum subsistence levels), Swiss Solidarity will not consider the application. This decision is communicated by letter. 

How do I submit an application for a person / family? 

There are two ways to apply for assistance:

1. Individual applications by (public or private) social services: by e-mail ( or letter/fax, followed by the submission of a printed application form

  • Send an e-mail ( (if this is not possible, letter or fax) including the following: surname, first name and dates of birth of all household members, address, a brief description of the situation, the reason and subject of the application, the household’s financial situation (the income and expenditure of all household members is taken into consideration).
  • This allows Swiss Solidarity to determine whether the person/family has already received assistance from Swiss Solidarity and whether the application fulfils the support criteria.
  • Swiss Solidarity sends the social services an application form if providing assistance is considered possible.
  • Social services complete and submit the form to Swiss Solidarity. The form must include the signatures of the responsible social worker and the applicant and have the necessary documents attached.
  • Swiss Solidarity reserves the right to request all documentation and information necessary for assessing the application.
  • Swiss Solidarity informs the social worker whether the application has been approved or rejected.
  • If the application is approved, Swiss Solidarity transfers the money into the account of the social services.

2. Multiple applications by (public or private) social services: via Swiss Solidarity’s online application form

  • All social services (public or private) have the option to submit applications to Swiss Solidarity via the internet ( This simplifies the procedure and allows the social services a better overview of the status of the submitted dossiers.
  • Prior to applying, social services must send an e-mail to Swiss Solidarity, requesting the opening of an account.
  • Swiss Solidarity then sends a form to the social services. On receipt of the completed form, Swiss Solidarity opens an account for the institution and sends the contact person (one person per department only) an e-mail with the access code and password and instructions.
  • Swiss Solidarity is committed to data protection. Online application forms are transmitted using SSL encryption technology and the servers at Swiss Solidarity headquarters in Geneva are strictly monitored.  

Further information: e-mail, telephone 058 458 12 12

  • 06.11.2009
  • Swiss Social Aid

What does Swiss Solidarity do for people in Switzerland?

In recent months, the word crisis has been omnipresent – not only in the media but also at home and away. The effects of this crisis of course also concern Swiss Solidarity. Swiss Solidarity has occasionally been called on to...

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Swiss Solidarity is a foundation, started as an initiative of the Swiss public media SRG SSR | Partnership & collaboration

  • Keystone
  • Swisscom
  • SRG SSR alt




One picture often says more than a thousand words. Thanks to the partnership with the internationally operating Swiss picture agency Keystone, Swiss Solidarity has free and rapid access to recent pictures at any time. 

The Keystone picture agency takes a Swiss view of our country and the world. A team of 20 full-time photographers throughout Switzerland as well as international partner agencies ensure that no current event is missed. As the largest picture agency in Switzerland, Keystone has an almost unending store of material on Swiss social history (around 11 million archive images).




A national fundraising day is unthinkable without the means of Swisscom: In six regional fundraising centers, provided by Swisscom as well, between 120 and 150 phone lines are in use. This meant that, at the Tsunami’s fundraising day, over 70’000 calls were managed. On fundraising days, this service is free of charge.

The internet as a means of communication is vital for Swiss Solidarity, too. Therefore, Swisscom supports Swiss Solidarity’s web presence year after year with a considerable contribution. Swisscom (formerly PTT) has been an abiding partner for Swiss Solidarity for over sixty years.



Swiss Solidarity originated in 1946 from a radio show in western Switzerland – the first fundraising campaign was for the benefit of the orphans of World War II. The idea became more and more successful, and in 1983, Swiss Solidarity was granted the status of a foundation initiated by the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG. Today, Swiss Solidarity is a foundation that raises funds for humanitarian relief projects and works with the SRG SSR.

On national solidarity and fundraising days, Swiss Solidarity demonstrates just what is meant by «idée suisse»: The solidarity and support of Switzerland’s entire population. This is only possible because the SRG SSR idée suisse supports Swiss Solidarity with its free broadcastings. Swiss Solidarity itself is – with a few exceptions – not a relief organization, but rather a solidarity network, cooperating with 25 relief organizations.

Additionally, the company’s entities SRF, RTS, RTR, RSI are all represented in the foundation board.