The welfare system in Spain, provides protection to those people who fall within it’s scope.
The public authorities shall maintain a public social security system for all citizens, guaranteeing sufficient support and social benefits in situations of need, especially in the event of unemployment, and that the support and additional benefits shall be free – Article 41 Spanish Constitution of 1978
Those who fall within the range of the act include Spanish nationals who reside in Spain, and non-Spanish citizens who are residing or are staying legally in Spain, provided that in both cases they are carrying out their activities on Spanish national territory. The welfare system covers employees, self-employed or sole proprietor businesses, members of associated work co-operatives, students and civil servants.
What does the Welfare System in Spain provide?
The welfare system in Spain provides healthcare; primary or hospitalisation, and benefits covering amongst others:
- Temporary incapacity
- Death and survival
Sickness cash benefit in Spain
If you have been paying social security contributions for a total of 180 days within the previous five years and cannot work due to illness or accident you can claim sickness cash benefits (sick pay) for up to 365 days (plus a further 180 days on the recommendation of a doctor).
You get 60 percent of the monthly contribution base for 20 days and 75 percent after that. You access sickness cash benefit by giving a medical certificate to your employer, or the INSS if you are self-employed.
Maternity care, maternity benefit and child benefit in Spain
Employees and some self-employed women are eligible for paid maternity leave (Permiso de la Maternidad) from the date of the birth (and occasionally before) or the official decision on adoption or fostering.
You will be paid a daily amount, which will be 100 percent of your average daily wage in the month before maternity leave started, for 16 continuous weeks.
Unless you are under 21 years old, you must have paid social security contributions for a specific period beforehand, for example, women over 26 years must have paid at least 180 days in the past seven years or for 360 days in all your working life. Fathers who have paid similar contributions may apply for paternity benefit, which has similar conditions. To apply you need to contact your local INSS.
If your job poses a risk to your pregnancy and you have to leave work, you may be eligible for a maternity risk benefit of up to 100 percent of your wage, starting from the day the employment contract ends.
If you are working and/or resident in Spain you may be entitled to a tax rebate of around EUR 100 per month for the first three years of a child’s life; self-employed are exempt from paying social security contributions of about EUR 240 for two years.
Invalidity and other benefits in Spain
If you have a permanent condition that prevents you from working you may be able to claim invalidity benefit. Benefits include pension and rehabilitation. Invalidity benefits are accessed though the Disability Evaluation Board (EVI).
If the condition had a work-related cause then there is no minimum contribution period; if it is not work related then you must have been paying into a scheme for a specific number of years, depending on your age and when you became incapacitated.
You may be able to claim survivors’ benefits if your relative had been paying contributions for at least 500 days in the five years before his or her death. For accidents at work or occupational illness, no prior insurance is required.
All of these benefits can be accessed through the INSS.
Retirement and pension
If you have been paying at least the minimum contributions for at least 15 years, at least two of which were in the 15 years preceding your retirement, and you have reached retirement age (currently 65 and 5 months), you will be eligible for a state pension (EUR 900 is currently the average pension salary) . To apply you need to complete a pension application form and take it to your local INSS.