I have a social security subsidy from my father's death which is valid for more 2 years.

Meanwhile, I did a one-time job as part of a university project I am included. After the work was done, it came to my knowledge that my country's social security would stop sending me the subsidy if I worked. I confirmed with them that this condition does include this particular one-time payment.

The total amount of subsidy for the 2 years is much higher than this particular payment, and the University has to pay for the work done to someone.

What options do I have? How bad would it be if I agree with a friend to pay him for my work instead? Any alternatives?

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    "How bad would it be if I agree with a friend to pay him for my work instead?" I fail to see how this would not be social security fraud, which is pretty bad in a number of ways. – bers Oct 27 '16 at 7:21

In more general forms, this is a common issue in most, if not probably all highly industrialised countries (I'm not aware of the situation in less industrialised countries). That is - you, or your family have claims to some form of social benefits, typically under a variety of conditions. Often, if your income is higher than a certain threshold, the benefits are then withdrawn - often in lump sum, potentially leaving you worse off overall (as in your example - though I'm not familiar with cases of payment and condition periods of such lengths).

In general the best I can say really (and this is my personal experience as well) is: the system sucks, by and large. I don't think there is very much you as an individual can do. Problems like this are why some people advocate universal basic income, or similar systems.

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  • Hey. Great answer. Thanks a lot for it. In SO, we try to make answers answer the question explicitly. My suggestion: add a sentence in the beginning like: "Your best bet is to not accept the payment." (if that is what you are suggesting the best option to be) followed by the why that you already wrote. Look for the answer from DJClay for an example of what I mean – Jorge Leitao Aug 31 '18 at 14:40
  • Thanks for the feedback :). I think part of the point of my answer is to point out that since the system is flawed (to say the least), there is no really good solution. I guess something along those lines could to the top, as a "tl,dr". I'm not sure though :P. I think I kinda misunderstood you at first, so I've pushed down my original reply to below this one - its probably boring for most readers... – Sean CJ Sep 1 '18 at 20:33
  • I had to think pretty hard to get this clear... The question really has three (overlapping) aspects in want of an answer - legal, moral and practical. Each of these in turn depend a lot on circumstances: I don't know what the social security regulation is - ie whether turning down a payment you'd be entitled to is illegal (comments on Ironluca and by @bers touch on this). Just as little I know what guides your morals, and as such whether you feel declining the payment would be cheating or not. Practically, I'd doubt you'd suffer repercussions - but no idea what your friends/family think :P! – Sean CJ Sep 1 '18 at 20:33

As Sean CJ says, this is a common problem with benefits provided to someone in difficulties. There are a number of possible approaches to this:

  1. A benefit that goes away if you work is often intended to only cover you while you are incapable of working. You may find that the benefit is withdrawn if you did work, or were capable of doing work, regardless of whether you were paid. In this case take the payment, because the benefit may well go away anyway. You might also consider the ethical aspect that if the payment was intended to cover you while you couldn't work, and you can work, then you should stop taking the benefit.
  2. Passing the payment on to someone who has a connection with you will probably be seen as fraud: definitely if you eventually get the money yourself, or any benefit from it. Don't do that.
  3. If you really decide you don't want payment, see if the University will convert the work to be voluntary. Although they say they 'must pay someone', they are unlikely to object strongly to you cancelling the contract and letting them have the work for free.
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This answer is probably late. I am not sure about tax/social security laws at Portugal, one way would be to decline and donate the amount to some charity directly through the university. Another way could be (if the law permits that) to make the payment an honorarium. The third way could be to keep the payment in abeyance, this is usually possible if an invoice needs to be raised and the invoice can be delayed till a later date but this would require the university to at least in principal to agree that the work is not yet complete.

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    Without knowledge of Portugal's tax / ss laws, I think any answer recommending a course of action could do more harm than good. – Grade 'Eh' Bacon Mar 15 '17 at 14:25
  • @Grade'Eh'Bacon I think such an answer as above gives OP possible solutions to look into for local feasibility that may (or may not of course) be possible to do what he wants in a legal way. – Leon Jul 19 '18 at 12:17

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