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Working in EuropePension rightsSpain




A retirement pension is the financial benefit afforded to those who, on reaching the established age, terminate or have terminated totally or partially the activity for which they were included in the Social Security system and certify their fixed contribution period. There are various types of retirement:

  • Ordinary retirement: when the worker ceases his working activity totally due to his age and fulfils the general requirements for accessing a pension.
  • Partial retirement: initiated after reaching 60 years of age, simultaneously with a part-time contract, whether associated with an interim contract or not.


Contributory retirement pensions

Workers who meet the following requirements are eligible to benefit from contributory retirement pensions:

  • They have been affiliated with the Social Security system, whether currently registered at the time of retirement or not.

  • As a general rule, notwithstanding the exceptions laid out, the retiree must be at least 67 years of age, or 65 when they can demonstrate 38 years and 6 months of contributions. However, the move from the age requirement of 65 to 67 years, and the requirement for a contribution of 35 years to 38 years and 6 months will be applied gradually between 2013 and 2027. In 2016, the required age was 65 years and 4 months if the retiree has contributed for less than 36 years.

  • The minimum contributory period required is 15 years (5,475 days), of which at least 2 must have been in the 15 years immediately prior to the right being activated. If the retirement pension is accessed directly from registration or assimilation without the obligation to pay contributions, the 2-year period must be included in the 15 years prior to the date on which the obligation to make contributions ceased.

If the retiree has worked in more than one EU Member State or countries that have signed agreements with the European Union, in order to meet the minimum contributory period requirement, all retirement pension contribution periods are added together. If he/she already has the right to retirement and applies for it, payment can be made in the country of origin or in Spain, and even outside the EU in countries with signed agreements. Each insuring body will pay in accordance with the time during which he/she was registered with social security in each. This rule is also applicable when paying pensions to survivors.

The competent institution in each State in which the retiree has worked must perform a double calculation. First, it will calculate the pension according to internal legislation as if the retiree had only worked in this State. Then, they will perform the calculation by totalling the insurance/residence periods spent in that or other States over the person’s entire working life. The individual is entitled to receive the highest of the two sums.

If, residing in Spain, the individual continues to be registered in the social security system of the country of origin or another member state, he must continue contributing to this system. When the time comes to receive the pension, the application can be submitted in Spain to the competent social security body.

Non-contributory retirement pensions

All citizens who are retired, disabled and in need have the right to financial benefits, free medical and pharmaceutical care and other social services, even when they have not paid Social Security contributions or the contributions were insufficient. To benefit from the non-contributory retirement pension, you must be aged 65 years or more at the time of application, live in Spain and have resided here for at least 10 years in the last 16 years and at the time of accrual (considering that two years must be consecutive and immediately prior to the date of application). To receive disability allowance (physical, psychological or sensory disability), you must be over 18 years old and under 65; live in Spain and have resided on Spanish territory for at least 5 years, the last two immediately prior to applying for a pension; be affected by a disability (as assessed by specialists) rated greater than or equal to 65%; and lack sufficient earnings or income.

Non-controbutory pensions can only be received in the State of residence in accordance with its legislation.

The organisation of these non-contributory pensions is the responsibility of the competent bodies of each Autonomous Region and the Provincial Directorates of the Institute of Social Services and the Elderly (IMSERSO) in the cities of Ceuta and Melilla. For further information on the regulations and requirements, please see the Imserso web page (

Widows’/widowers’ pensions

The following individuals (deceased) are eligible for this kind of benefit:

  • Pensioners with a recognised permanent disability and contributory retirement pension.

  • Workers affiliated and registered or assimilated who have paid contributions for at least 500 days over the 5 years immediately prior to their decease, if the death is due to a common illness. If the decease is due to a work-related accident or illness, no prior contributions are required.

  • Pensioners and recipients of benefits for temporary incapacity, maternity, paternity, for high-risk pregnancies and risks during nursing.

  • Those who, having ceased work with the right retirement, die without having applied for it.

  • Those who disappear in an accident under circumstances that indicate their probable decease.

  • Persons who, upon death, are not registered or similar in Social Security, provided that they have made contributions for a minimum of 15 years over their working lives.

Individuals eligible for this type of benefit include:

  • The surviving spouse.

  • The survivor who was legally divorced or separated from the testator.

  • A survivor whose marriage has been declared null and void.

  • The survivor in a de facto relationship.

Further information on the criteria to be met and the quantities for 2016 can be consulted on the Social Security website: (

Orphans’ pensions

There is no minimum contributory period requirement for orphans’ pensions. Individuals eligible for this type of benefit include:

  • The children of the deceased, either under 21 years of age or over 21 if their capacity to work is reduced by a percentage assessed as constituting permanent total disability or severe disablement, whatever the legal nature of their filiation. In certain circumstances, the age may be extended to twenty-five years.

  • Children brought into the marriage by a surviving spouse when, in addition to the general criteria, the following special conditions apply: that the marriage took place two years before death, that they had lived at the deceased’s expense and have no right to any other pension or family members obliged to feed them.