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Coordination of social security systems

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Coordination of social security systems

European Union (EU) law on the coordination of social security systems does not replace national systems by a single European system. National laws decide on aspects such as the beneficiaries of their social security systems, levels of benefits and eligibility conditions. However, the EU has common rules to protect social security rights when moving within the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.

ACT

Regulation (EC) No 883/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 on the coordination of social security systems

SUMMARY

European Union (EU) law on the coordination of social security systems does not replace national systems by a single European system. National laws decide on aspects such as the beneficiaries of their social security systems, levels of benefits and eligibility conditions. However, the EU has common rules to protect social security rights when moving within the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.

WHAT DOES THIS REGULATION DO?

It lays down common rules to protect social security rights when moving within the EU (as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland).

KEY POINTS

Scope

The regulation covers all the traditional branches of social security, namely:

sickness

maternity and paternity

old-age pensions

pre-retirement and invalidity pensions

survivors’ benefits and death grants

unemployment

family benefits

accidents at work and occupational illness.

Beneficiaries are guaranteed that their benefits will be paid, that they will be covered for healthcare and that they will receive family benefits even if they move to another EU country.

Beneficiaries

All EU nationals (and their families) who are covered by the social security legislation of an EU country can benefit from these coordination rules. They apply to employees and self-employed people, civil servants, students and pensioners, but also to people who are unemployed, not yet working or no longer working.

The rules also apply to non-EU nationals and their family members who reside legally in the EU.

Basic principles

Beneficiaries:

are covered by the legislation of a single country and pay premiums in that country - the organisations managing social security decide the legal jurisdiction to which they belong (principle of single applicable law);

have the same rights and obligations as nationals of the country in which they are covered (principle of equal treatment or non-discrimination);

are guaranteed that previous periods of insurance, work or residence in other countries will be taken into account in the calculation of their benefits (principle of aggregation of periods);

can, if they are entitled to a cash benefit in a country, collect this benefit if they do not live in that country (principle of the exportability of benefits to all EU countries where the beneficiary or family members reside).

European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)

The EHIC (which is free) allows people staying in another EU country than their country of residence, including on holiday, access to medical benefits during their stay on the same terms and at the same cost as people insured in that country. The costs are then paid/reimbursed by the social security system of their country of origin. EHICs are issued by the health insurance services in the country of the insured person.

Instruments of coordination of social security systems

Institutions must respond to all requests within a reasonable time and must communicate any information required by those concerned to assert their rights under the regulation. The regulation lays down rules to ensure that EU countries’ institutions work closely together and mutually assist one another for the benefit of citizens.

WHEN DOES THE REGULATION APPLY?

From 20 May 2004.

For more information, see EU social security coordination on the European Commission’s website.

REFERENCES

Act

Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Regulation (EC) No 883/2004

20.5.2004

-

OJ L 166 of 30.4.2004, pp. 1-123

Amending act(s)

Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Regulation (EC) No 988/2009

30.10.2009

-

OJ L 284 of 30.10.2009, pp. 43-72

Regulation (EU) No 1231/2010

1.1.2010

-

OJ L 344 of 29.12.2010, pp. 1-3

Regulation (EU) No 465/2012

28.6.2012

-

OJ L 149 of 8.6.2012, pp. 4-10

Regulation (EU) No 1224/2012

8.1.2013

-

OJ L 349 of 19.12.2012, pp. 45-46

Successive amendments and corrections to Regulation (EC) No 883/2004 have been incorporated into the basic text. This consolidated version is for reference purpose only.

RELATED ACTS

Regulation (EC) No 987/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 September 2009 laying down the procedure for implementing Regulation (EC) No 883/2004 on the coordination of social security systems (Official Journal L 284 of 30.10.2009, pp. 1-42).

Last updated: 17.03.2015

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