Social Security in Spain

01 April 2021

Social Security Numbers and Healthcare, Unemployment & Retirement Benefits


Information about Social Security in Spain. How to get a Social Security number in Spain and where to get it. How much Social Security costs. Healthcare, unemployment, and retirement benefits.


You will need to be part of the Social Security system.

If you plan to work in Spain, you should apply for your Social Security number once you are already living in Spain, but ideally before you start working. Whether you work for yourself (por cuenta propia) or you work for someone else (por cuenta ajena), you will need a Social Security number so that you and/or your employer can make Social Security contributions on your behalf, and then so you can benefit from Social Security.

What is it for?

When you contribute to the Spanish Social Security system you are paying for Spain's public healthcare as well as for old age pensions, unemployment insurance, maternity benefit, and other benefits.

Even if you are not a European Union citizen and plan to later return to your home country, in many cases having paid into Spain’s Social Security system can be counted as though you paid into your Social Security system at home. Spain has bilateral Social Security agreements with Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada (except Quebec), Chile, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Mexico, Morocco, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Russia, Tunisia, Ukraine, United States, Uruguay, and Venezuela. Check with your country’s embassy for details.

How do I get a number? Where do I go?

You can obtain a Spanish Social Security number by applying for one in person at the closest Social Security office to where you live in Spain. Find the contact information for Social Security offices in Spain here.

You will need to fill out and sign a form called Modelo TA.1 (download one here) and present your passport or Spanish residency card. The Social Security office should issue your number to you on the spot.

How much will Social Security cost?

If you work for someone else, your Social Security contributions will automatically be deducted from your salary. Generally you will pay 4.7% of your salary towards Social Security while your employer will pay 23.6%.

If you work for yourself, you will pay approximately 29.8% of your earnings to Social Security, for a minimum monthly payment of around €250. You will make your contributions directly to the bank using payment slips provided by the Social Security office.

The Spanish Social Security system provides a number of benefits for those who pay into it.

What about healthcare? As a contributor to the Spanish Social Security system you have the right to obtain a health card and have full access to the Spanish public healthcare system. You have the right to use a wide range of health services including prenatal care, mental health services, and specialist care. Your local health center (centro de salud) and doctor serve as your first point of contact, allowing you to make regular appointments and receive treatments as well as specialist care as needed. What about unemployment benefits? Unemployment benefits help protect the terminated worker. If you quit your job or are self-employed, you are not entitled to unemployment benefits. You can only claim unemployment if your employer terminated your contract (aka fired you) and you had worked at your job (and contributed to Social Security) for a minimum of one year in the last six years before being let go. Within two weeks of being fired you should register as unemployed with the Servicio Público de Empleo Estatal (or SPEE), formerly known as INEM. Unemployment benefits last for a maximum of two years and are up to 70% of your former monthly salary. What about old age pensions? The retirement age in Spain is 65. To qualify for a Spanish pension you need to have contributed to Social Security for a minimum of 15 years, for which you will receive 50% of your earnings base. (However, you may be able to count a combination of years worked in Spain and your home country depending on your nationality and how long you’ve worked.) To receive 100% of your earnings base, you will need to have contributed for 35 years.

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