European Social Security coordination

One of the main rights in EU is the right to free movement within the European Union and the right to work in the country of you choice. Resulting from this right EU has set in place principles for social security coordination.  Countries must ensure that people moving from one member state to another do not find themselves worse off than those who live and work in one member state their whole lives. The scope of benefits and rights varies from country to country, but in general the coordination covers unemployment insurance, pensions, social benefits and health insurance.

Four main principles:

  • You are covered by the legislation of one country at a time so you only pay contributions in one country. The decision on which country’s legislation applies to you will be made by the social security institutions. You cannot choose.
  • You have the same rights and obligations as the nationals of the country where you are covered. This is known as the principle of equal treatment or non-discrimination.
  • When you claim a benefit, your previous periods of insurance, work or residence in other countries are taken into account if necessary.
  • If you are entitled to a cash benefit (i.e pensions) from one country, you may generally receive it even if you are living in a different country. This is known as the principle of exportability.

In general you are subject to the legistlation of the country where you work. There are variations to this rule if circumstances are more complicated.

Different work/living situations. Which rules apply to me?

You can find the responsible institutions in your destination country in the EESSI Public Directory of European Social Security Institutions.

If you have any problems, contact the EURAXESS Services centres in your destination country.

Your social security rights when moving within Europe

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