Here we help you get through the minefield that is the Social Security system in Spain., how & where to get a number, how much it costs aswell a healthcare, unemployment, maternity and retirement benefits..
Applying for a social security number
Whether you work for yourself or are employed you need to apply for a Social Security number in Spain. Ideally you should do this before you start work.
By contributing to the system you are paying for a range of different benefits - healthcare, unemployment benefit, maternity benefit and pensions to name a few.
Some countries have bilaterial agreements with the Spanish social security system. For a list of those who do, click here.
To apply for a social security number, youll need to go in person to the closest social security office to where you live. For help in finding where that is click here.
You need to bring with you a completed TA1 form which you can download here as well as either your passport or Residency Card/Certificate. Youll be then issued with a number there and then.
Your social security contributions are automatically deducted off your salary if you work for someone else. This is normally 4.7%* whilst your employer pays 23.6%*. 1.55%* of your salary also goes towards unemployment benefit (hte emplyer pays 5.5%*).
These figures apply a gross salary of up to 36 thousand Euros.
(*Figures relevant in 2010)
If you are self-employed, the system is different and you operate under what is known as the régimen especial de autónomos . As there is no employer paying the large amount of contributions, you have to pay more, with a minimum of approx. 250 euros a month. Even if you earn nothing during a month, you still need to pay this. The maximum contribution is around 2,575 euros. The more you pay, the larger the pension you receive when you retire; you can also pay an additional amount for temporary incapacity/sickness benefit.
If you work for yourself, be aware that if you have two different self-employed activities you need to contribute twice.
If you pay social security, you automatically have a right to use the Spanish healthcare system. They have a range of services including antenatal care, mental health and various specialist healthcare. Appointments can be made at your local Centro de Salud.
The retirement age in Spain is 65.
In order to be eligible for a Spanish pension, you will have had to make contrbutions to the system for at least 15 years, 2 of which must have been in the 15 years prior to retirement.
The pension is calculated according to what you have paid to the social security syste in the last 8 years (your earnings base). To receive 100% of your salary you will need to have contributed for 35 years. In some cases you can combine years worked in Spain and in your home country.
If you walk out of your job or are self-employed you are not entitled to unemployment benefit. You can only claim it if you have been fired or made redundant and that you had contributed to social security for a minimum of a year in the last six years.
Normally, unemployment benefit is 70% of yuor former montly wage. To claim this yu need to register at the Servicio Público de Empleo Estatal (SPEE). Unemployment benefits last for a maximum of two years.