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Claiming Spanish Benefits in Spain

- Updated: 13/01/2011
Claiming Spanish Benefits in Spain

The social security system in spain is similar to the UK. You pay your contributions every month, and that entitles you to a pension, unemployment benefit, sick pay, maternity pay and the right to receive free healthcare. The amount of pension or benefit you receive depends on the level of contributions you have made in the past.

When you contract to any position in spain your employer is required to register you in the social security system and to deduct any contributions payable by you from your wages (check your wage slip to make sure that this has been done!). You will need to obtain your NIE number first. But beware! Many small businesses pay some or all their staff cash in hand so they will not be eligible for social security benefits, including health care. Other employers may register you, but claim you are working less hours than you actually are, thus saving themselves some money in contributions. In this situation you will still be eligible for health care, but if you become unemployed or have to take sick leave, your benefits will be much lower than you should actually be entitled to.

Obviously you may not have much of a choice as to who you work for, but we would strongly recommend that you do not work cash-in-hand.

If you are self-employed (autonomo) then this information is provided under our 'Registering a Small Business' section - Alternatively if you are already regsitered in the UK system you can work in spain for up to 2 years, and you will still be entitled to spanish healthcare. See the UK's Department for Work and Pensions website for details.

If you have been employed in spain for 6 months and you lose your job, you will generally be entitled to spanish unemployment benefit. If you are employed or self-employed, you will also be entitled to sick pay, maternity pay and, when you retire, a pension. All benefits are paid at variable rates depending on the level of your contributions. If you have been paying minimum social security contributions the amount you will receive in benefits is currently around 750 EUR per month.

Comment on this Article

I have been a resident and working in Spain for several years. Since the summer registered unemployed, however currently not receiving my paro ( long, different story, and unsure as yet if I will receive it for this period) But will from next month receive a pension from the UK. Does this affect my unemployment status in Spain? Do I need to volunteer (using my digital certificate) to bajar my status?
Gabriele Ferrigno - Thu 27th Dec 2018
Hi.. I am to be made redundant in one month, having been on a idefinedo contract for eight years, previously being self employed for two years.could you please tell me what I am entitled to and how long I would receive benefits.?..many thanks
Steve Moore - Mon 20th Aug 2018
Marie - Fri 28th Oct 2016
I qualify for a full UK state pension also I might qualify for a small Spanish state pension too, ..question is will that alter how much I get from the UK state pension ???
Rafael - Sun 23rd Oct 2016
Hi there, could you please advise as to how long I need to wait for my first El Paro payment. I finalised all my paperwork and interviews 14 days ago but I haven't heard anything, no money or a letter. Thank you
Mark - Mon 18th Jul 2016
hi, i am on the paro in Mallorca, however i got my dates mixed up when i was to sign to claim my benefit, now it looks as though i will be sanctioned which means i will loose my benefit for 1 month,this is all i have coming in as i am presently unemployed, I do realise that it was my responsibility to be sure of my dates ,but that doesnt take away the fact that i will be without a penny to feed me all month.Can the uk help me as i am a british citizen? please help as i dont know where to turn!!!
Elaine Hunter - Sat 18th Jun 2016
I started on my contract on 9th June it expires 22nd june as its a teaching contract.i broke my leg 12 march and im currently being paid 75% by mutua.does that mean at the end of june i get nothing because i wont have been in a vontract for 365 days or is there some benefit available.
Kate Riley - Wed 20th Apr 2016
I am claiming benefit and high rate of DLA I HAVE WORKED most of my life in the UK but for the past 10 years or so have been unable to work. My Doctor says worm wet her would defiantly increase my quality of life. I notice that most EU residents can come to UK with nothing and get benefit property to rent etc would I be able to if I moved to Spain. and if I did manage to get to self employed work over there could I get in work benefit.
Rodger Chance - Wed 20th Apr 2016
I am claiming esa, not contributions the other one if i wanted to move to spain would i be able to claim another bennifit , i also recieve high dla as i have been ill for several years, is thiere some bennifit i can claim before i go so i know i will have something to live on and is there housing bennifits
Miguel Amedeus - Fri 8th Jan 2016
My father passed away in February this year back in the UK after many years living in Spain. He was receiving a pension out there and they are still paying it. Who do I need to inform to get it stopped?? Thanks
Mick - Sun 9th Aug 2015
The Spanish system is unlike the Social Security System in the UK : Residency plays no part on your entitlement - you can only get something out if you have paid sufficient contributions into the system within a qualifying period.
Paul Robson - Sun 26th Apr 2015
I have not worked here except for 5 months when arrived. So, we have lived here for the last 3 years. We both have residency.!! I thought that you would receive some support - just like UK. How do people support themselves if they do not receive anything from the government ?
Michelle - Sun 26th Apr 2015
Hi My sister, who is British has just split from her long term partner. They have lived in Spain for 6 years and have a child. She has not worked in Spain for 4 years, can she claim some form of single parent benefit there? Many thanks C
Carlos - Wed 22th Apr 2015
Hi. My sister in-law is Spanish and lives in Spain with her violent husband and their two children. She is desperate to leave her husband and start a fresh with the children. Is there any help she can get financially so she can escape as he was the worker and she stayed home looking after the children and house. The house is in his name and all money is his. She has nothing at all.
Sally - Mon 20th Apr 2015
Hi, I was taken ill 2 years ago with cancer and have been paid sick pay and dole. I am now on subito which runs out in May : Am I able to claim any other money as I have no money coming in ? I live on my own.
Teresa - Fri 6th Mar 2015
Hi, I ran a bar for 3 years, and unfortunately due to the economic climate, I had to close the business. I paid social security every month that I was in business. I have been informed that I am not entitled to any benfits, is this true. Regards, Linda
Linda Storey - Tue 23rd Dec 2014
My question is, I have been working on a 10 hour contract for a local company, although working 3 full days a week. I started in March on a 6 month contract ,when this finished I received an extra 3 month contract. this ends on 31st Oct. Firstly is the 10 hour contract legal when have been working 120 hours a month.and what should I do about it. Trev,
Trevor Shaw - Thu 30th Oct 2014
I've lived in Mallorca for two and a half years. I only had a job for two months. Because it was a contract only market research company, it was not regular work. I'm haven't worked for about 2 years. I'm not fluent in Spanish so I cannot get any jobs. The market research company was English. I think I'm allowed some benefits but I'm not sure of what and how do I get it. Help on this matter would be greatly appreciated.
Michelle - Wed 1st Oct 2014

Zoe : Sorry for just noticing your post ! - It would be difficult to answer this one without knowing your exact circumstances - some situations you can claim something from the UK Benefits Agency, and in others, from Spain itself. I would recommend that you read our Guide on "How to Claim Child Benefit in Spain", but also you might like to read the Spanish Social Security Guide on the issue (In English) > HERE <

Tumbit - Admin - Tue 30th Sep 2014
My question is : I am employed 23 hours a week with a contract, and am wondering as a single mum on a low income would i be entitled to any benefits so that i could afford rents and basics ? many, many thanks for any responses.
Zoe - Sun 15th Jun 2014
Hello robster, Thank you for your reply. I didn't realise Spain was different to the UK but thought they may not have had the same system back then before entering the EU. Or that they may not have had records about them as they left Spain in 1982. Mum didn't work she was always a house wife. She's living in Holland now where she's been since leaving Spain in 1982. I think the pension system there is similar to the UK but she'll only have half a pension with none from Spain.
Ben - Mon 17th Feb 2014
Ben : Was your Mum registered as a Spanish resident AND paying social security contributions ? - If not, then she is entitled to nothing ! - The Pensions and Benefits system in Spain is linked to contributions, and NOT residential status as it is in the UK. Spain will contribute nothing to her Pension.
Robster - Mon 17th Feb 2014
Hi, I'm wondering about my mum's situation. She lived in Spain travelling around living in a camper with her partner for about 15 years up till 1982. They didn't have a regular life and her partner of that time did bits of casual work. The years since then she's been a single parent resident in Holland. Soon she'll be due for her pension, would she get part of her pension from Spain when she wasn't registered as living there dream they had a travelers life style. Does any one know how that works from before 1982 ?
Ben - Mon 17th Feb 2014
Hi, I recivieve the Spanish of 52 yrs 'subisdo' and have to sign on every three months. However, I mentioned that i wanted to seek work in the U.K. and they have threatened to stop the subsido, even if I do not find work and return (I am a resident of Spain). How long are your allowed to spend out of Spain seeking work without losing benefits. Thank you.
Lesley Leach - Thu 9th Jan 2014
Hello I have been refused Spanish benefits until I can proove that I am not married, they are asking for :- Estado Civil. I am English and 56 years old and had an accident in which I broke my back. The authorities here in Ibiza refuse to do anything untill I proove that I am not Married, How does one proove this please
Alec Stuart Bettney - Tue 10th Dec 2013
Hello... i worked for over 2years contracted at a company, before i fell pregnant, social told me i couldnt get anything or any help for my child. i have now had a 6 month contract and still not able to have anything. was just wondering seeing as my child is now nearly 3 years old would i be able to receive anything as i haven't ever received anything before
Samantha - Mon 11th Nov 2013
Can you tell me how long you can claim el paro, I have been working for nearly two years and have paid into the social security system (full time contract etc) also i am single with no dependants and was told that I couldn.t make a claim once I had been receiving el paro for six months!
Liz - Thu 10th Oct 2013
@Donna - My understanding is that when you become re-employed, your paro ends automatically. Also, you must not sign the paro again whilst employed. However, if the work does not pan out and your friend decides to leave, she will not be entitled to any paro. However, assuming her initial 3 month contract is not renewed, she will be entitled to sign on again and should receive some amount of money, but how much will depend on how much she got paid and how much her employer paid into social security.
Ed Bishop - Tue 8th Oct 2013
@Sami - No, your state healthcare will continue but you MUST continue to sign on as unemployed.
Ed Bishop - Tue 8th Oct 2013
Hi I am on the dole but runs out in December. Do I lose my social doctor when my dole finishes ?
Sami - Mon 7th Oct 2013
Could you tell me please how to claim unemployment benefit please. I live in Coll D'En Rambassa so which office should I go to? Please give me the address of the office.
Michelle Johnson - Fri 26th Jul 2013
Hello everyone, my friend is asking for with regards to her paro - She has been receiving the paro for one year now and it is now 700 euros per month, if she takes on a job and it doesn't work out after the 3 months qualifying period... is she still entitled to go back on the paro if yes for how long ? and how much will she get then... thank you for your help.
Donna - Mon 8th Jul 2013
Hello every body. I am working in Spain from July 2011 to June 2013, my contracts with my university is for 3 years but I would like to go back to my home country, I paid full social security. I am from Non European country, do I will get my pension back when I leave Spain? There is no pension transfer agreement between my country and Spain...
Amir - Thu 27th Jun 2013
Can I claim working tax credit from the UK whilst working in Spain? Or do the Spanish have a similar top up scheme for low waged parents which I could claim in spain instead?
Mel - Tue 25th Jun 2013
To Mike Sanford You receive a spanish pension for each year that you have worked . Same as the UK. You will also get a full pension from the UK & , if you stay until retirement age with this company, about 50% of a spanish pension. You need to take advice as being entitled to 2 pensions from different countries you come under the EU pension rules & payments which are higher than country payments only.
Gus-lopez - Tue 26th Mar 2013
@Donald - It's quite normal for a company based in Spain to insist you visit their doctor before returning to work after any period of prolonged sickness. This is to ensure that you are fit and able to work and that by working you are not likely to cause further injury to yourself. It's a liability thing. You should visit the company doctor asap. Your sick pay might have been stopped because you have not yet visited the doctor, however legally they must pay it to you. I wouldn't have any sleepless nights over this issue if I were you. Just go and visit the company doctor asap so they can confirm you are ok to return to work.
Ed Bishop - Thu 28th Feb 2013
Hello, I have worked for a English company here in Spain for 4 years and have had a contract for 3 years. I have recently had 4 weeks off work with a bad back which after X-rays shows that I have 2 vertabrae that are worn. My local doctor has signed me off the sick and able to return to work. I took the paperwork into work and they have said they want me to visit the company doctor ( He speaks no English ) And that until I see him I cannot return to work. I have not received any sick pay for last week and would be due more pay this week. But the company have stopped me going to work until i have seen their doctor. I am 64 years old in a couple of weeks and need to work for another year to get me to my U.K. Pensionable age. How do I stand on this issue ? Regards D.Main
Donald Main - Wed 27th Feb 2013
is there a new law about claiming unemployment benefit in spain, i havent worked in spain, but ive been signing on for a year now and they said i would get money after a year of signing on, but now they are saying i have to of been working for 90 days to get any money is this right what about the EU regulations
Karen - Wed 30th Jan 2013
@Mike - Sounds suspect to me... You need some independent financial advice from someone who knows the laws in Spain with respect to pensions. Premier Pensions Solutions are a good place to start. Although you are on a great salary by Spanish standards, it all depends on your contributions to the state, equivalent to National Insurance (or stamp in old money) in the UK. Read this article "Claiming A Pension in Spain". You would not be entitled to a Spanish pension until after 15 years of employment in Spain, although your current contributions in Spain can be combined with those made in the UK - You wouldn't receive 2 separate pensions and who pays your pension will depend upon your residential status in Spain or where in Europe you are classed as TAX resident.
Ed Bishop - Tue 8th Jan 2013
Ive worked enough yrs in Uk for my state pension, however for the past 18mths I have worked in Spain, due to lack of jobs in my field in UK. The company I work for told me I will be entitled to a pension after 2yrs working for them. Im on 43,000 euros gross per year. I was wondering what kind of pension I will be entitled too on retirement. Im 55yrs old now. Thank you
Mike Sanford - Tue 8th Jan 2013
Thanks Ed for your information l have quite a high nomina as l need to work for another 2 years to make up the 15 years needed to claim a spanish pension. l received forms from the UK to claim for my pension l believe l have worked enough years to be able to claim a full pension from England. Can you tell me what forms l need to claim my pension via the Spanish goverment, and to which office l need to go to to get these forms ?
Steve Brookeman - Fri 4th Jan 2013
@Jane - This is a tough one. Usually when you are paying social security you are automatically entitled to state health and social services. However, any level of benefit/welfare is dependent on average amount of contributions for the last 6 months. Health services should be available to you as you are married to the contributing person. You must obtain an NIE/DNI number asap, after which you'll need to register on the Padron at your local town hall, then you can register with the doctor. In the unlikely event you encounter problems, consider having your social security payments from your native European country transferred to Spain and applying for residentia.
Ed Bishop - Thu 3rd Jan 2013
@Jane - This is a tough one. Usually when you are paying social security you are automatically entitled to state health and social services. However, any level of benefit/welfare is dependent on average amount of contributions for the last 6 months. Health services should be available to you as you are married to the contributing person. You must obtain an NIE/DNI number asap, after which you'll need to register on the Padron at your local town hall, then you can register with the doctor. In the unlikely event you encounter problems, consider having your social security payments in Ireland moved to Spain. You'll need to speak to the authorities in Ireland to obtain the appropriate paperwork to give to the Spanish authorities.
Ed Bishop - Thu 3rd Jan 2013
@Stephen - Yes, it all depends where you are claiming the pension from... If you are receiving the pension from the UK, you can claim back the tax stopages by declaring it to the Spanish authorities, but you'll need to pay tax on it in Spain. If you are claiming a state pension in Spain, you can still work if you are NOT receiving the FULL state pension. If you are receiving say 75% of FULL pension, you can still work, however your tax liabilities will likely increase. Many choose to work part-time to avoid paying too much tax. If you are autonomo (self-employed) you can still work as much as you like! As for appropriate forms to complete, can you be more specific which country is paying the pension, state or private?
Ed Bishop - Thu 3rd Jan 2013
I have worked in spain since May 2000 and have paid social security to the spanish goverment. I am still working and was due my Pension in June 2012. Can l claim a pension even though l am still working in spain and paid contributions in the UK ?? If so, where can I get the Spanish forms to do this ?
Stephen Brookeman - Thu 3rd Jan 2013
Hi I have moved from Ireland to work in spain and my contract is not permanent/open ended until completion of first term(December) in a school. However I want to end my contract now. How much notice am I required to give ?
Patricia Harrington - Fri 12th Oct 2012
My husband has just started paying social security but he only works 3 hrs a week what will this entitle him to, and will it entitle me to anything eg, doctors smear tests etc... thanks Jane.
Jane Tait - Sun 7th Oct 2012
@Sheila - This is a tough one and really highlights how things can go wrong when working without the proper social security contributions. I can't be certain, but you should be entitled to something, although how much I could not say. If you have a contract your employer MUST make contributions for you. It maybe too late to do anything about it, but you must speak to your local Social Security office and show them your payslips and contract. This will prove you have been working and that your employer has been naughty. If you are entitled to benefits, your employer will be investigated and appropriately fined!
Ed Bishop - Tue 4th Sep 2012
Please can anyone help me? I have been searching sites for days and can't get the right answers. I work at two part time jobs in Mallorca. I have noticed that one of the jobs doesnt pay anything towards Social Security (10 hours per week) and the other one does (12 hours per week). I have become ill and my Doctor wants me to go on sick pay and go in for some tests for my Psoriatic Arthiritis but I'm afraid I'll get no sickness benefit and won't be able to pay my rent/bills etc. Has anyone at all got any info that would help me. Thanks, Sheila!
Sheila - Tue 4th Sep 2012
Thanks Robster, i'l tell him that straight away. I know if his boss had actually said the words "you're fired" he would have to pay him a lot of money, thats why he didnt give him a choice. Thanks again
Audra - Thu 30th Aug 2012
Audra : He should check the small print on his (Legal ?) Contract, get a sick note from the Doctor and then get in touch with the INSS straight away !
Robster - Thu 30th Aug 2012
Hi, i wonder if anyone could shed some light please. My friend lives & works in Spain, has worked for the same employer for 16 years (6 months season) with contract each year. Yesturday, he had to go to hospital with a suspected broken leg. He rang his employer to explain & his boss more or less said come into work or you're fired. He works in a bar as a waiter so obviously is walking around all night, which you cant do with a broken leg, needless to say he did not go to work. He is worried now that he will not get help over the winter with benifits because he thinks it looks like he left his job. Please advise if pos, thanx.
Audra - Wed 29th Aug 2012
Hi, thanks for replying. No, my friend doesn't own a property, she rents. It sounds like that the UK doesn't want her to pay Tax there. How would she pay tax on her pensions if she isn't actually receiving them in a Spanish bank account. You would think that the UK authorities would just Tax her at source......... rather than her having to sort out things over here. She has been living here for over 10 years now!!!!!
Lynn - Fri 17th Aug 2012
@Lynn - Even though your friend is resident in Spain and receives a UK pension, she must pay tax somewhere whether it be Spain or UK. There are pro's and con's to both, she must decide which is better for her. If she owns property in Spain, it might be better for her to register as being tax resident in Spain. Her property tax will be less and there are also all kinds of health and social benefits available. If she chooses to pay tax in the UK, she can save on taxes in Spain by registering her property as a UK business - Read this link for more info: Property Tax in Spain
Ed Bishop - Mon 13th Aug 2012
My elderly friend in her 70's receives UK pensions, paid into UK Bank, but lives in Tenerife. She has been told by UK Tax office that they are not going to stop her tax in the UK but the Spanish authorities will. But, if her money gets paid into a UK Bank, then how can this happen? Can anyone throw some light on this. Thanks.
Lynn - Mon 13th Aug 2012
@Lea - This is a difficult one. If you setup your business in the UK but run it from Spain, technically you should be paying tax in Spain, not in the UK. However, if you choose to pay the tax in the UK and set yourself up as tax resident in the UK, you might be able to claim benefits in Spain from UK. You would be best to speak to a small business advisor in the UK. Most UK banks have them.
Ed Bishop - Mon 6th Aug 2012
@L.Davidson - Yes, you'll need to be certified unfit to work by your doctor then make a claim at your local benefits office.
Ed Bishop - Mon 6th Aug 2012
If I am now unable to continue working full time due to a health condition and have been in the social security system fo 6 years, will I be able to claim any benefits?
L.davidson - Mon 6th Aug 2012
My partner is paying autonomo but we cant afford for me to pay autonomo at the same time. I am thinking of setting up an online business selling within the uk - without leaving spain. Can I pay NI contributions and UK Taxes within the UK and claim child benefit if we are living in the Spain? We have been paying into the spanish system for 6 years and this covers all of our medical care and my partners contributions but I am not able to contribute. sorry this is a bit off the subject!
Lea - Wed 27th Jun 2012
I work in Spain but had to go for treatment in England & I have a UK doctors note but my Spanish boss is refusing to accept it. Is this correct?
Claire - Fri 22th Jun 2012
My Teaching contract finished 18th June. They were paying me sick because i'm having chemo till August. My employer said I would receive further sick pay from social security. SS have now said I only have 117 days contributions and need 180. First, I don't understand how this is calculated when I have had a fulltime contract since xmas and a further 14 months part time. I am not entitled to sick or unemployment and will be homeless with no income from end of July. What do i do? I'm not entitled to anything in UK cos been here 8 years. I'm 45 & never claimed anything in Spain or UK. Please help with advice if you can !
Kate - Fri 22th Jun 2012
#Maggie - 30 years on a Spanish contract... Wow!! Yes, you are entitled to unemployment. Just make sure you have your last 6 payslips, copies of your contracts and anything else employment related. If you are going to work for an English company and claim unemployment in Spain then you are on dangerous ground. I wouldn't recommend it and the fines are massive! PLUS you'll have to repay anything you've received PLUS interest! If you are moving back to the UK, request your social security payments in Spain to be transferred to the UK.
Ed Bishop - Sun 10th Jun 2012
I was told that now I could work on an English contract and still claim unemployment in Spain is this true or not ? I've spent 30 years on a Spanish contract and up until now this wasn't possible.
Maggie - Fri 8th Jun 2012
#Esther - Yes and no... Everyone's circumstances are different. If you are a dependent of your partner, in other words you are unable to work due to disability therefore you are a dependent on your partners income then yes, however your marital status is a big factor. If you are not married, then no. However, if you get official documentation from the doctor to confirm your disability, then there might be some state benefit for you, however probably small. Also, if you are a UK resident, then you can claim benefits from the UK - CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO
Ed Bishop - Fri 8th Jun 2012
My partner works hee in Spain and pays his contributions every month. Am I still entitled to apply for disabilility allowance here as he is paying or do I need to be working and paying into the system?
Esther Heath - Thu 7th Jun 2012
ED, thanks for the info, I didn't realise I was limited to 1000 characters, hence the end bit of my post was missing, what I said was ... Ok maybe I am mistaken and I know there is a limit but don't know how much the limit is. So anyway, thank you for clarifying that, at least I know now and can stop worrying!
Linz - Thu 7th Jun 2012
#Caren - I was sorry to read your story. My thoughts are with you and your son! In answer to your question, yes absolutely, register as unemployed. I cannot say whether you will receive any employment benefits but if you have paid tax in the UK you should be able to claim something here. Also, being registered unemployed entitles you to healthcare. Not sure what the Inss is, but you will need to go to the Oficina de Empleo/Servef Office in your area. If you are a UK national you might be untitled to disability benefits from UK - CLICK HERE. Just an idea, speak to a solicitor about the operation and what happened, they maybe able to get something to help with your son's longer term care.
Ed Bishop - Wed 6th Jun 2012
#Linz - I think something got lost in translation when you applied for your benefits. 70% is correct, but this is based on the maximum declared to the tax office. It's very complicated, but the most ANYONE can claim is €1,100 minus approx. €40 which is deducted for social security in Spain, but this amount varies across the regions. Sorry, but you won't get an additional €800
Ed Bishop - Wed 6th Jun 2012
I have recently been made redundant, I worked in Gibraltar, but live in Spain, I am claiming unemployment benefit in Spain (I can't claim it in Gibraltar as I don't live there, even though I paid into their social Insurance) though apparently Spain will then claim what they pay me from Gibraltar. My problem is this, I was earning 35K a year and I am told that I would be able to claim 70% of this previous gross salary as unemployment benefit for the first 6 months, then 60% thereafter, but I am not receiving anywhere near 70%, I am getting 1020 Euros in my bank each month, which is definitely not 70%!!! My Spanish is not that good and no one in my local unemployment office speaks any English (not that I am expecting them to) but its difficult, I think I am losing out on at least 800 Euros a month. I have written to SEPE via google translate explaining my previous salary and enclosing payslips, I posted the letter by Registered Post 3 weeks ago and have heard nothing. Ok maybe I have
Linz - Wed 6th Jun 2012
I need a little guidance & advice. I came to Spain in 2005, worked from March on & off until November 2006, when I left my contract due to inflexible hours whilst pregnant and had not worked since. The main reason initially having my son in July and after 9 months old, and after having a stroke in an operation he was left disabled, now due to care & his basic needs as well as physio & hospital commitments I cannot work. I've been advised to register in the system as unemployed for this reason, where shall I go? Can I use the Inss in Torrevieja? Help please
Caren - Wed 6th Jun 2012
Lizzy, lots to consider here.Firstly you need to obtain the ''days'' you have worked according to the gobierno by applying for a vida laboral from : You can then use this information online to determine what you MIGHT get if you needed to claim benefits by entering the info onto : If investigated you could be fined aswell as your boss if they do not show your actual hours on your contract. Check to see if you are on indefinido contract (permanent) or temporal. As i understand it you are only allowed to be a on a temp contract for no more than 6 months then you have to be on permanent. Be careful though as I was told they are well within their rights to suspend a contract for 3 months if they feel they no longer need you for work. Even though you have physically been at your employ for 360 days, when the gov work out how many days to pay you unemploy benefit.
Suzanne - Sat 26th May 2012
Need Advice: I worked for a companay last year for 6 months on a 2 hour contract ( 10 hours per week ) . This year I have also been put on another 2 hour contract and they refuse to increase my contracted hours ..... even though I am working more than 2 hours a day. Will I be able to claim any benefits this this winter having worked 360 days but only on a 10 hour contract ?
Lizzy - Fri 25th May 2012
Just back from the Servef Office (this is where you register to become unemployed and you make your appointment on its official... but I didnt know that you also have to make an appointment on line at for the unemployment benefit claim, this gives you your local office and you have 15 days (excl sundays and bankholidays) to make your claim from the date that you are made unemployed. So back I go on Friday..... i'll keep you up to date !!
Suzanne - Mon 14th May 2012
Kate, you seem to have some answers? What if you are working for a UK company and are paid in the UK? Is it worth registering for the double taxation exemption and having your tax and social contributions paid in in Spain? I would want to stop working for the UK company at some stage in the future and hopefully get work here... so would it help to pave the way?
Dj - Fri 11th May 2012
If you have been employed for 12 months or more and lose your job, you would be entitled to Spanish unemployment benefit.
Martyn - Fri 11th May 2012
Thanks everyone for your help, i'll keep you posted.....
Suzanne - Thu 10th May 2012
This is the form you need, FORM CA3916. I found the info this morning on the fco website and its actually called CA3916. I cant do anymore at present because my husband goes into hospital tomorrow for an op but please let us know how you get on.
Barbara - Thu 10th May 2012
@Suzanne - You need to contact the DSS in the UK for a statement of UK contributions. There is a form you need to complete CA3916 - You'll then receive a statement of contributions made in the UK which are applied to any calculations here in Spain.
Ed Bishop - Thu 10th May 2012
Hi , I am visiting the ss office on Monday, I have read that you can include any SS payments made in UK in my calculations, where do I go to get this info so that I can present whatever i need to present to the spanish ss office??? please help urgently if you canxxx thank you xx
Suzanne - Thu 10th May 2012
Barbara : You must have made at least 6 months of the appropriate contributions before you can claim sick pay as an Autonomo worker. You can find out more about this subject by clicking through to the Guide >> HERE <<
Tumbit - Admin - Thu 10th May 2012
I began to be self employed about 5 years ago and registered and paid Autonomo. However, I only paid one month as I then became sick and have not been fit to work since. Is there a minimum amount of autonomo you need to pay in order to quialify for sickness benefit or unemployment? I know there is for a pension but not sure about other benefits
Barbara - Wed 9th May 2012
Yes, I was an accountant in the UK. I worked full since I was 22 until I came to Spain aged 37. I have never claimed any benefits either here or in the UK. I paid 40% tax for the last 8 years in the UK. Does that make a difference ? I dont need much to live on 'cos I'm too ill to do anything but I worry how I can continue to provide for my daughter. As my contract ends in June am I looking at claiming unemployment or incapacity ? Surely I must be entitled to something ?
Kate - Thu 19th Apr 2012
Kate : Did you ever work legally and pay Social Security Contributions to the UK ?
Mr Grumpy - Thu 19th Apr 2012
Hi Kate I have been through a similar thing. I worked here and paid social on a self employed basis and my gestor told me I was not entitled to sick pay so i didn't claim & then my bank manager told me I could claim and had to get a baja from my doctor which I did after a lot of jumping up & down, due to my gestor's lack of knowledge i lost 6 months payments which amounted to a couple of thousand euros but I got paid for a year after that, so if you want to know what to do send me an email on Chemo's hell isn't it!!!! but I am feeling a lot better now 2 years down the road. good luck, Maggie
Maggie Howard - Wed 18th Apr 2012
Please could someone advise me. I have lived in Spain 8 years, working on and off with a contract. I was employed full time as a teacher in October last year but was taken ill and began chemo this January. I am being paid a proportion of my salary until my contracts finishes at the end of June. I have been told I am not entitled to any benefits and am at a loss what to do. My intention is to return to work in September (my treatment finishes at the beginning of August) but how will I live when I receive no money in July and August? Can anyone point me in the right direction? I am single and also have a 19 year old daughter in fulltime education in the UK who I support as she was not entitled to anything in the UK because she had lived in Spain!!! Feeling quite lost...
Kate - Wed 18th Apr 2012
Jeff : It would be difficult to comment without knowing the exact nature of their circumstances, AND what contributions that had made to the SS in both the UK and Spain to date. My gut feeling is that she is suffering from 'the grass is greener' syndrome and would urge her to speak with the INSS in Spain before making any rash decisions.
Tumbit - Admin - Thu 8th Mar 2012
Hi, my son is English and his partner who is Spanish have 18 month old twins who were born in England and live in England, but his partner wants to take the twins back to Spain because she says she would get more benefit payments from the Spanish goverment for them. Is this right, and if so how much and how long for ?
Jeff Bowes - Thu 8th Mar 2012
Well done Hayley, I'm glad you had more success than I did. Perseverence is the name of the game over here. Well done again!
Lynn - Sat 3rd Mar 2012
Thanks yes it does it was such a relief :-)
Hayley - Fri 2th Mar 2012
#Hayley - Thats great news! Congratulations! A bit of breathing space hey? Glad it all went well!
Ed Bishop - Fri 2th Mar 2012
Hi all outcome was great they are paying me unemployment benefit untill 25th December 70% for first 6 months then down to 60 % for the rest of period!! It couldn't have gone any better, must admit I was so surprised I really believed I would get nothing my faith has been restored for now.... Thanks all for your help and advice though, it was a great help :-)
Hayley - Fri 2th Mar 2012
I friend has told me that as so many ex pats are returning to the UK, British nationals are entitled to claim basic benefits while stll abroad. I find this difficult to believe but see the logic as they'd have to find bed & board for thousands. Any clues ?
Vicky H - Thu 1st Mar 2012
#Hayley - Hope it all went well on Monday, can you let us know? #Lynn - That sucks! However if you have been paying social security through your nomina, it shouldn't matter who your employer was! I would check again if I was you... Chances are there might be nice fat cheque with your name on it!
Ed Bishop - Tue 28th Feb 2012
Well, I certainly hope that you have more luck than I did ! 2 Years ago I became unemployed after working for 8 years. First day went well, then had to go back on 2nd to have Interview. Never got past the first question as I was married to my employer!!!!!!! So we were both unemployed with not a penny coming in, after being told by our Accountant that I would. Best of luck!
Lynn - Tue 28th Feb 2012
I'll be there on Monday morning !! I'm really hoping it is good news or I will never bother again, I will confirm how I get on then you can use that as advice for someone in the future :-) thanks all
Hayley - Fri 24th Feb 2012
#Hayley - Thats great news! don't delay, get to the employment office and register for the Paro ASAP. I was told I only had 14 days from my last working day to register, although I cannot confirm 14 days is true.
Ed Bishop - Fri 24th Feb 2012
I wouldn't take anything for granted here until you are actually receiving the money into your account - if there is any way that the authorities can squirm out of paying you they will. And be grateful that you are not an Autonomo, as they have it even worse !
C Timpson - Fri 24th Feb 2012
Turns out after speaking to my old company accountant that I have infact been on contract for 2 years and 4 months !! He told me I'm entittled to 8 months .... However I won't believe anything untill I see it sceptical :-/
Hayley - Thu 23rd Feb 2012
#Hayley - Scary isn't it! I was made redundant

November 2011, the system here sucks! However, don't dispair! You must speak to the employment office asap! There is help available, but you have to ask for it... Highlight to them that you have children AND above all, speak to HMRC in the UK - You CAN have your contributions in the UK included in any calculations in Spain !

Ed Bishop - Thu 23rd Feb 2012
Really there is no point in being official then in Spain is there !! You pay in to the system but you have to have worked a whole year before your entittled to anything it's crazy you should be entittled according to how long you have paid in.... So I have lost my job through no fault of my own have 4 children and no income and they won't help me are they serious !!
Hayley - Thu 23rd Feb 2012

Thanks for the detailed answers Ed, it's always good to heave an account from somebody who has first hand experience of the system.

Hayley : You might also like to take a look at our guide on claiming Unemployment benefits in Spain by clicking HERE.

Tumbit - Admin - Wed 22th Feb 2012
#Hayley - Unfortunately as I understand it you need to have worked for a year before you are entitled to any kind of unemployment benefit. However, your employer is still liable to pay you redundancy, but for 180 days of work, this won't be much. You should register for the 'paro' asap, they will be able to advise you correctly, but also help you find alternative employment. Remember, you CAN have your social security contributions in the UK included in any calculations!
Ed Bishop - Wed 22th Feb 2012
#Gayna - Everyones circumstances are different and as far as social security payments go, paying only the minimum will always land you in bother later down the line. I would recommend asking for your benefits to be re-calculated, but they MUST take into consideration your children as dependents. Additionally, you can also have your UK contributions taken into account. You'll need to speak to an adviser at the employment office asap!
Ed Bishop - Wed 22th Feb 2012
HELP ! - I've just been made redundant from my job in Spain, I've been told conflicting stories regarding if I'm entitled to any benefits now, my empresa shows only 180 days I'm told you need 360!! To be entittled to unemployment benefit is this true ? because I'm also told by the companys accountant I can get 8 months worth I'm desperate to know where I stand can you help am I entittled to any help financially
Hayley - Wed 22th Feb 2012
Please Help ! - My partner has applied for unemployment benefit, paying in minimum s.s contributions.however,is currently only receiving 94.70 e a month! It states Dias cotizados:649. Dias de derecho:180. %sobre la base reguladora:70. % por desempleo parcial:50,00. Cuartia diaria inicial 8.28. Base reguladora diaria 10.66. Base de cotizacion por Contingencias Comunes 10.66. Based on this we thought we would be receiving around 450e per month! Now behind with morgage due to their 1st "mistakes". Can you help explain if this payment is correct. We are desperate and have 2 small children.
Gayna Mccanis - Fri 10th Feb 2012

If you will have a legal job here in Spain and be making all the correct contribution then there is no real need for you to transfer your taxes until you are about to start claiming your pension. You and your family will automatically be eligible to free state healthcare as soon as you start making your contributions.

However, there are very few benefit payments exportable from the UK to Spain, and nothing that you will be entitled to claim from the Spanish government either.

C Timpson - Mon 30th Jan 2012
Please can you confirm is there any money we could claim for our 2 chilrdren when we move to spain. I have a permenant spanish job and my wife is leaving her 3 year post to move to a new country. Is all our tax contributions able to transfer over to spain or not?
Graeme Robertson - Mon 30th Jan 2012

Gary :

1) You need to complete the "Application for Survivor's Benefits" form and submit the necessary documentation with it (Downloadable online)

2) You should submit the completed fom to any INSS office here in Spain (By post is fine - probably best to post it to the office closest to where you wife worked here in Spain)

3) You can apply for this benefit anytime after a Spouses death, but payments can only be backdated by a maximum of 3 months.

..... Let me know if you need anything else.

Tumbit - Admin - Mon 26th Dec 2011
Paul - This sitaution is getting alot frustrating that I have been told by several lawyers that I am entitled to benefits. However, where do I call or submitt the appliaction? I am living in the USA (spanish citizen) and she was working in spain. would you happened to know where and who I call?
Gary Alexander - Sat 24th Dec 2011
Maggie : The DWP usually make contact with you around 6 months before you are due to claim your first Pension to make sure that your details are all in order (Basically so all parties agree on the value of the pension). As soon as you move back to the UK you should call them to give them your new contact details AND also to ensure that the contributions you made in Spain are combined with your UK contribtions. However - It may be a good idea to speak with the International Pensions Dept of the DWP BEFORE you make any further decisions.
Tumbit - Admin - Fri 23rd Dec 2011
I paid into the system for nearly 5 years as autonomo - got a years sick pay, then nothing. I reach english retirement age in November next year. What would happen if we went back to England ?
Maggie Howard - Thu 22th Dec 2011

S.Thornton : Frsutrating I know, but there is little else that you can do here other than to chalk it down to experience.

Maggie : Unless you or your husband were already claiming some kimnd of benefit before you left the UK you will be unable to make any new claim from Spain ( Excluding your state pension). Have either of you contributed into the Spanish state system at all ?

Tumbit - Admin - Thu 22th Dec 2011
Help! : We have no savings left because of a bad business venture which would take years & loads of money to get anything back through the courts. we are now suffering financially as no work (I am sick) does anyone know if my husband can claim anything from England even if we are living in Spain, he paid into the system for 35 years before we moved to Spain 10 years ago.
Maggie Howard - Tue 20th Dec 2011
Gary - It is my understanding that you are entitled to claim a Widowers Pension (assuming your wife made all the correct contibution) for the rest of your life, or until you either remarried or found a new common law partner.
Paul Bennett - Tue 20th Dec 2011
Paul- If this is the case, she paid into the system, would you happen to know how long I would collect the benefits for?
Gary - Tue 20th Dec 2011
I have a fijo contract and pay correct contributions for my job. I was off sick for 5 days but too ill for the first 2 to go and get a baja from doctor then it was weekend so my baja was only for a day doctor wouln't back date it and my employer is now deducting 4 days pay from my next months salary but only took half a day from the month I was ill
S.thornton - Mon 19th Dec 2011
the company did not deduct anything from my pay all they did was make false promises and when it has suited them layed me off. also when it suited them to have holidays they close the company and decided that the staff would not be paid for that time, but of course they still receive their pay..
Maria - Sun 18th Dec 2011
Maria, if neither you or your employer were not making any declared contributions and you did not have a legal contract, then you were both breaking the law. Taking your employer to court make end up getting you both a fine, but I would be surprised if you would come away from court with any compensation !
Mr Grumpy - Sun 18th Dec 2011
Gary, you are entitled to a Spanish widower's pension if your wife contributed into the system for a minimum of 500 days in the 5 years before her passing (which if waived if death was due to an accident) You are entitled to claim 60% of the pension that would have been paid to your wife had she still been alive. The pension stops if you should ever re-marry, but if so you are given a single payment of 24 months pension if this happens. This is also the case if you begin co-habiting with a common-law spouse.
Paul Bennett - Sun 18th Dec 2011
Are you stating that if my wife made contributions and I did not, then I will beable to collect widower benefits?
Gary - Sat 17th Dec 2011
Maria : You don't say if you had any social security deductions from your salary or not, and if so how much. If you can prove that you have made these payments, then you will be entitled to claim redundancy and severage pay from your employer. If no payments were made, then no, you won't be able to claim anything.
Tumbit - Admin - Sat 17th Dec 2011
No, the company have not paid any contributions into the spanish social security system, and I know that I will not been able to claim anything from social secuirty but what about from the company, they have been transfereing my pay into my bank account but it only shows as a transfer not as wages. Can I take to company to court to get compansation for the dismissal?
Maria - Sat 17th Dec 2011
Ryno : Unless you have made any contributions into the Spanish Social Security system, you will not be able to claim anything at all.
Tumbit - Admin - Sat 17th Dec 2011
Gary : As a Spanish citizen your entitlement to benefits will be exactly the same as any native born Spaniard, however you should contact your nearest INSS office as soon as possible to find out the nature of what you can claim and how much you are entitled to.
Tumbit - Admin - Sat 17th Dec 2011
I started working for a company in spain in April 2010, they promised to do a contract but after all this time there has never been a contract, but now I am been laid off, what can I do ? Am I entitled to some kind of payment from the company or could I take it to court ?
Maria - Sat 17th Dec 2011
How do I claim benefits in Spain whilst living here as I am still looking for work ?
Ryno Stan - Wed 7th Dec 2011
I had an unfornate incident two weeks ago. My wife died in Spain. We are both Spanish citizens. I aquired the citizenship through marriage many years ago. what benefits am I entitled to and how to do I go about receiving them?
Gary Alexander - Mon 5th Dec 2011
I have been on a 6 month contract at full indefinido 40 hr per week and may be made redundant. I have only been a resident though for 4 months. i was originally on a 10 hour contract and working black but the authoritys made my boss backdate by 6 months my contributions as a 40 hr contract. will i be entitled to any benefit and how much would it be. thanks for your help
Suzanne - Sat 12th Nov 2011
Michael, so long as you have been paying social security payments regularly you should be entitled to some kind of income support which is paid into your nominated bank account. You might also be able to include social security payments made in the UK into the calculations. You will need to sign on in person, but repeat signings are generally random in date. When you sign on, you will be sent a chip & pin card with a USB device allowing you to do this online, however they will do random spot checks meaning you will need to go in person on occasion.
The Equalizer - Tue 18th Oct 2011
Hi I've been working as a bar manager on a full time year contract with all social security paid. My contract is up in march and I don't think it will be renewed am I entitled to a finacito? And also I was considering travelling for a year will I still be able to claim the unemployment pay I'm entitled to? Will it go directly in to my account or will I have to be there to sign on every month ?
Michael Dobinson - Tue 18th Oct 2011
I used to work in a hostital Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane WA.Before of that I worked as a housekeeper in 2 differentes places, so I was empleyee I think it was almost 17 Year? I became disable and I get a Pension from USA, that flactuate depending in how is the $ Vs Eureo. I do not work in any palace under the table or nothing like that. My best regards to whom it may concern.
Rafaela Espinosa Gonzalez - Sat 19th Mar 2011
I work in spain for an english company, we have 30 days holiday what they call natural days. If I have a holiday monday to friday they include saturday and sunday which are my days off as holiday so if I start work on Monday I lose 7 days not 5 as holiday is this right.
Christine Cox - Fri 18th Mar 2011
Hi there, my grandad, is suffering with pulmonary fibrosis, the hospital have said there is no cure and a lung transplant is not an option as he has a pacemaker fitted, anyway he has taken a turn for the worse and now needs a carer as my nan is very ill herself, they both pay volentary into the spanish system, have lived there for 11 years, can they get any help?, with either funding for a carer or equipment as he will now need a hoist and bits, i have read about a new law that has been introduced in spain, 'lay de dependecia', but there was not uch info on there, please could you help or give me some guidance!!, Kind Regards Jay
Jay Poyser - Fri 21st Jan 2011
Maggie, I sincerely wish you the best of luck. Your's is one ofthe cases that sickness benefit is supposed to be for. I bet you paid into the UK system for 30 years. Best wishes to you. Vicky
Victoria - Fri 7th Jan 2011
Maggie, there are a few circumstances in which, being resident in Spain, you are able to claim Incapacity benefit from the UK. I would suggest that you contact the following to explain your circumstances and find out if this applies to you : International Pension Centre (IPC): 44 (0) 191 218 7122.
Tumbit - Admin - Thu 6th Jan 2011
I live in Spain. I was self employed in Spain for 5 years and paid autonomous contributions. I was diagnosed with cancer 2 years ago & am depressed, I can't work as I get so tired. I am 60 years old this year and have no money as they stopped my sickness benefit last year, is it possible to receive any financial help from England re pensions etc, i would appreciate any advice.
Maggie Howard - Thu 6th Jan 2011
Hi Sue, You need to go to your local INEM(unemployment office) ASAP. They will tell you what you need to take, i.e. agreements etc. Don't delay; if you need paperwork from people who may be unavailable in a few days, you need to find out ASAP. Delay could make you loose your entitlement. Re signing on, it's every 3 months. Vicky
Victoria - Wed 29th Dec 2010
I have just been made redundant after working for a spanish company for over 6 years, I will need to claim el paro. Anyone know the procedure, and how often I will need to "sign on"
Sue Rance - Wed 29th Dec 2010
A self-employed person can claim sick pay and maternity pay?? I have yet to meet anyone, Spanish or not who has managed to get this! If you are employed in Spain for six months you will receive around 750 a month unemployment pay?? Think your info needs reviewing and elaborating. This payment is earnings related and now for very little time. The recession has hit Spain as badly as the UK. I know plenty of people who have no choice but to work for less than 700 a month. Spain may even take away the 420 euros monthly "help" payment for people whose unemployment money has finished. So regarding your recommendation of not working cash-in-hand, with all due respect, come out into the real world! Tony, the only way you will get your rent paid is if you get a live-in job.
Victoria - Mon 20th Dec 2010
Does the 750 eur include your rent, council tax water?
Tony Vines - Tue 5th Oct 2010
I disagree with regards to the unemployment benefits. My employer (Husband) paid my S.S. contributions for over 8 years. The business had to close. When going to Umemployment Office i was told that i could not claim anything. Surely something is wrong here.
Lynn Stringer - Sun 11th Jul 2010
My husband and I have worked all our lives, because the job my husband had was affecting his health we sold and moved to Spain as we could not longer afford to live in the UK. Unfortunately over the last 8 yrs we have now used all our saving as a consequence I applied for my husband as a dependant on my State Pension (many friends here are getting this for their spouses). The result was that he is not eligible because he has not received any benefits of any kind during his life. Because of this I applied for Pension Credit as my husband does not receive his pension until September of this year but this was refused also. I would be most grateful if anyone could let me know if there are any benefits we could receive. Many thanks.
B Hallisey - Sun 13th Jun 2010
Barbara, continuing to pay UK contributions really depends upon how much you have paid into the UK system already, and how long you intend to stay in Spain for. I believe that at the moment the qualifying term is 30 years of paying into the system in order to be eligible for a UK Pension. If you inform the Pensions Service that you are working overseas I understand that the contributions are reduced. However, you could just choose not to pay any of these voluntary contributions.
Tumbit - Admin - Sat 29th May 2010
Thanks, this is helpful. I'm currently working for employers who are paying some tax but no social security contributions. I've been working for them for nearly 9 months. Meanwhile the UK national insurance office wants me to pay some contributions as a self-employed person, I was a freelance journalist for about five months before arrive in Spain. I'm thinking I should pay the UK contributions even though I'm working in Spain!!
Barbara Buchanan - Fri 28th May 2010
Rafaela, as a Spanish National I really don't know anything about how the law and procedures would apply to your case. I would suggest that you look at the Spanish Ministry website for more info -
Tumbit - Admin - Sun 25th Apr 2010
Carole, at the moment the law concerning unemployment benefit for self emploted persons in Spain is in a state of transition.(see news article :, but the best person to discuss his induvidual claim with would be the Asesor who submits his quarterly Autonomo accounts.
Tumbit - Admin - Sun 25th Apr 2010
My brother has been a self employed musician for various establishments without contract in Tenerife for over 20 years and has always paid self employment contributions. He is 61 years of age. His work has now dried up and he is without income. Can you tell me if he is entitled to any benefits, we keep hearing about being able to claim if he is over 52 years of age but can find no information. Manythanks
Carole Cox - Sat 24th Apr 2010
I am not working because I am Disabled and almost 60 years old. I worked in the EEUU for many years at Sacred Heart Medical Center, Spokane, Wa. I was going to take The American Nationality, but I did'nt and remain a Spaniard. I have to go to The American Consulate in Madrid and they did all kind of tests. I am getting a very low Pension, for what I worked in The EEUU. Only once they pay me 500 E, the rest of the time I received under that amount. Maybe I should be getting a little bit more? I would apreciate it if someone could help me with that.
Rafaela E Gonzalez - Thu 22th Apr 2010
Carla, It depends upon a number of issues such as : your nationality; where your children were born; if you have residencia or not etc... If you have NOT contributed into the system then you will be unlikely to be entitled to any unemployment benefit. Assuming that you are a UK citizen, and that you have made contributions in the past in the UK, then I would suggest that in the first instance you called the Job Centre on 44 800 055 6688 as they will be able to advise you best course of action.
Tumbit - Admin - Tue 20th Apr 2010
Could anyone please tell me: If I have lived in Spain and supported myself and my children with my own money, and have now ran out of money but can't find any work, can I get any benefits from Spain? I have never contributed into the system, What can I do?
Carla - Mon 19th Apr 2010