Russian dolls - large families
In Spain there are around 450,000 families with three or more children. Having a large family (familia numerosa) brings a sizeable rise in all kinds of costs such as increased rent or mortgage on a bigger property, education costs, clothes and shoes. Thankfully, in November 2003, the Spanish government put in place the Ley de la Protección de las Familias Numerosas, which means that there are substantial benefits to claim if you have three or more children. To be legally recognised as a familia numerosa, one or two parents have to have three children under the age of 21 or, if the children are studying, the age limit rises to 25.
Parents with three or more children are entitled to reductions of up to 45 percent in the cost of social security for a home help. There is also help with costs of living ranging from preference in gaining education grants to assistance with school equipment and transportation. Discounts are available of between 20 to 50 percent on family travel by planes, trains and buses, and the law also establishes discounts of up to 50 percent for some leisure activities. There are is also some direct financial help available, which is means-tested according to the parents' income. Other benefits include extended maternity and paternity leave.
But this assistance isn’t automatic. You are required to present documental proof at the local Social Security office to qualify—you will need to bring: your DNI (Spanish identity card) or NIE (foreign resident umber); your libro de familia; the tax declaration (renta) from the previous fiscal year; a personal finance statement; your certificado de empadronamiento (registration) from the local council; and the DNI of any children over 16. You can register from one day after the birth or adoption of the child.
There are also independent companies that provide even more money-saving opportunities for the larger family. The Federación Española de Familias Numerosas runs a Catalan branch, the Associació de Famílies Nombroses, which has offices in Barcelona, Lleida and Terrassa. There are discounts available in everything from supermarkets to holidays and insurance.
For more information see the following websites:
Associació de Famílies Nombroses de Catalunya: www.fanoc.org
Federación Española de Familias Numerosas: www.familiasnumerosas.org
Ministerio de Trabajo—Social Security department: www.seg-social.es