Are you affected by brexit?
Which country’s social security system you are insured in depends on two factors:
your employment status (employed, self-employed, unemployed, posted worker, cross-border commuter, etc.) and
your country of residence – it does not depend on your nationality.
You cannot therefore choose which country’s social security system you are covered by.
If you are staying or working abroad, you will be insured under the social security system of either your home country or the host country. Regardless of which applies to you, it is important to ensure that your benefit rights are maintained after you move abroad.
You can avoid serious misunderstandings and problems by finding out about the social security system in the country of destination in good time.
Find out what to do if:
you live and work abroad…
If you work in the EU as a migrant worker, you must register with the social security system of the host country, whether you are employed or self-employed.
You and your family members will then be covered by the social security system of the host country. Local legislation will determine what benefits you are entitled to in the event of sickness, unemployment, accident and illness at work, retirement and early retirement, death of a relative or your family situation.
Periods for which you are entitled to benefits
In many countries, the exact benefits you are entitled to can be influenced by the length of time you have been contributing in that country.
The country where you are claiming benefits should also take into account the periods during which you have worked and paid contributions in other EU countries. These periods should be treated by the country in question as if you had been insured there all along.
If the country in question does not do so, contact our assistance services.
All periods worked in the EU count for benefits
Ania is a Polish national. She worked in her home country for six years before moving to Germany and taking a job there.
After two years she was involved in a car accident and became unable to walk, so she claimed an invalidity pension in both Poland and Germany.
The German authorities rejected her claim on the grounds that she had worked in the country for less than five years (in Germany, it takes five years to qualify for an invalidity pension).
However, the German authorities were wrong because they should have taken into account the period during which Ania worked in Poland. Including this period, the number of years worked by Ania in the EU is now eight years, which is well in excess of the period required to qualify for entitlement in Germany.
Ania is therefore entitled to receive invalidity pensions from both Germany and Poland, each in proportion to the length of time she worked there.
she goes on a short-term posting abroad…
If you are an employee or self-employed, you have the option of working as a temporary posted worker in another EU country while remaining covered by your home country’s social security system.
Posting abroad has no effect on your and your family members’ social security entitlements, i.e. health insurance cover, family allowances, invalidity benefits and pension.
Receiving health care services
To get the health care you need in your host country during your posting, you should obtain a European Health Insurance Card. You can get the card in your home country, either from your healthcare provider or from the social security authorities.
However, if you move to the host country, you or your employer will need to contact the health insurance authorities in your home country and request an S1 form. Once you arrive in the host country, register with the local health insurance authority using the S1 form.