With a view to assisting Austrians living abroad who find themselves in serious difficulties, the Auslandsösterreicher-Fonds (AÖF, Fund for the Support of Austrian Citizens Abroad) was established by law in 1967. The Federal Act on the Fund for Austrians Abroad (Auslandsösterreicher-Fonds-Gesetz, AÖF-G), which came into force on 1 January 2007, acts as the Fund’s current legal basis.
The Fund’s objective is to grant one-off or periodical financial support to Austrian citizens in need who have their principal residence abroad in order to either assist in a temporary emergency or alleviate permanent financial hardship. The funding provided is to be considered as a form of supplementary support, comparable to social benefits in Austria, but is not, however, to be regarded as a form of replacement pension to cover the entire costs of subsistence abroad. Furthermore, such assistance can only be granted if the applicant’s income and realisable assets as well as funding provided by relatives obliged to support the applicant do not enable living costs to be met.
According to a new amendment introduced on 1 January 2007 “Austrians at heart”, i.e. former Austrian nationals and their children who have their primary residence abroad and suffer extraordinary material hardship may in (rare) exceptional cases also receive support from the Fund. For more detailed information please refer to the Guidelines for Support published by the Fund’s Board of Trustees on 15 January 2007.
The Members of the Board of Trustees are appointed by the Austrian Federal Government. The Board is chaired by Ambassador (retired) Markus Lutterotti, the office of Managing Director is held by Josef Knapp. In 2016, the Fund was financed with a total of 600,000 euros, half of which was contributed by the FMEIA and the remainder by Austria’s nine federal provinces. In 2016, financial assistance was made available to more than 1,300 individuals.
When applying for assistance it is necessary to provide a credible and full description of the situation with regard to temporary or permanent financial hardship. There is, however, no legal entitlement to assistance. Applications must be filed exclusively with the relevant Austrian representation authority, i.e. the embassy or the consulate (general). The application must also be filed using the specified application form, which is available in several languages. Staff at the representation authorities are pleased to answer any questions you may have and can assist you in completing the application form.