Social Security in Spain Explained

If you’re thinking about living and working in Spain then it is vital that you understand the Social Security system in the country. How much they will cost, what your social security contributions will pay for, and whether you will be entitled to free childcare are all common questions for new residents in Spain to ask. With that in mind, here’s everything you need to know about Social Security in Spain: 

 Registering to Make Social Security Contributions

In order to obtain social security benefits from the government, including access to free healthcare, non-nationals choosing to live and work in Spain must register to make social security contributions. Applying for a social security number involves visiting your local Tesorería de la Seguridad (Social Security Office) with all of the relevant documentation. This includes:

-A completed TA-1 form (This form is not available in English, so if you are not a Spanish speaker, you may need to seek the support of someone who is to complete it)
-Your original ID and Passport, plus a photocopy of these documents
-Your contract of employment, plus a photocopy of this
-If you are a non-EU citizen you will also need to show your residency papers and that you have obtained the relevant visas.

At this point you will be issued with a Spanish Social Security number. Once you have been entered into the system during your meeting at the Socal Security office, the number that is assigned to you will remain the same for life.

Do I Need to Pay Social Security Contributions?

You may be wondering if you need to pay social security contributions. The short answer is that, if you are working in Spain then yes, you will be expected to pay social security contributions. However the amount that you will pay will differ depending on whether you are employed or self employed, and on how much you earn.

If you are being employed in Spain then your employer will share the cost of your social security contributions with you. There are official minimum and maximum levels of contribution that you will expected to make depending on the type of work you do and qualifications you hold. For example, engineers, university graduates and senior management staff have a minimum contribution base of  €1,152.90 per month while administrative assistants have a minimum monthly contribution base of €825.60. If you’re concerned about what the top level of expected contribution will be then it may interest you to know that there is a maximum contribution base of €3,751.20 per month for most workers in the country.

If you are self-employed and earning more than the annual minimum wage (which is currently set at e10,303 per year) then you will also be expected to pay social security contributions, however because you don’t have an employer, you will be solely responsible for these yourself. This means that self employed individuals in Spain generally pay more social security contributions than employees. Regardless of how much you earn on a monthly basis, the régimen especial trabajadores autónomos, which is the scheme responsible for self employed workers, will set out minimum monthly payment amounts. For this reason, it is important to consider what your social security payments will be when deciding whether it is a viable financial decision to register as self-employed when living in Spain.

What Are the Spanish Social Security Benefits?

You aren’t just paying your Spanish social security contributions from the goodness of your heart: you’ll receive invaluable benefits in return. The main social security benefits that you should be aware of are:

-Free Spanish healthcare (this includes access to state hospitals and subsidized prescriptions
-Sick pay in the event of work-related sickness or injury
-Maternity and paternity pay, medical care, and a child allowance once your child is born
-Disability benefits, if you have a permanent condition that prevents you from working
-Access to a state pension and other retirement benefits

Retiring to Spain

If you’re retiring to Spain then you may be wondering whether you will have access to these same benefits if you’re not working and paying into the local social security system. To get access to public health care you need to pay into the Spanish social security system. The basic monthly fee is €60 for the under 65s that are living in Spain but not working. It’s worth noting that if you take early retirement to Spain (before the age of 65) then you will be responsible for paying the cost of your own prescriptions. If you receive a UK state pension or certain other benefits, you’ll be eligible to receive the same medical treatment as a Spanish national without paying in to the local social security system.  However you will not be eligible for any other social security benefits, such as disability support or access to a Spanish state pension.

If you’re still considering living and working in Spain then why not get in touch with our local property experts today? With a wealth of specialist local knowledge, they’re perfectly placed to help you find the Spanish home of your dreams.