Accessing Social Security Benefits

Accessing Social Security Benefits

When moving within the EU, you only pay social security contributions in one country at a time. Generally, you will also receive social security benefits exclusively from this country.

The EU has rules on social security coordination. This doesn’t mean that there is a single European social security system. It means that you can receive you’re a country can pay your social security benefits even if you don’t live there. All countries are free to decide who is to be insured under their legislation, which benefits are granted, and under what conditions.

These four principles apply when you live, study, or work in another EU country:

  • You are covered by the social security legislation of one country at a time – you only pay contributions in one country.
  • You have the same rights and obligations as the nationals of the country where you are covered (where you pay contributions).
  • 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 from one country, you may generally receive it even if you are living in a different country. 

For more information, please consult the Commission’s webpage on social security coordination and the Regulation 883/2004 on the application of social security schemes to employed persons, to self-employed persons and to members of their families moving within the Community.