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Document 32004R0883R(01)

Coordination of social security systems

Coordination of social security systems



Regulation (EC) No 883/2004 on the coordination of social security systems


  • It lays down common rules to protect social security rights when moving within the European Union (EU), and Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.
  • It recognises that EU Member States decide on aspects such as the beneficiaries of their social security systems, levels of benefits and eligibility conditions.
  • This regulation on the coordination of social security systems does not replace national systems by a single European system.



  • 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 Member State.


  • All EU nationals (and their families) who are covered by the social security legislation of a Member State 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


  • 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 Member States 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 Member State, collect this benefit if they do not live in that Member State (principle of the exportability of benefits to all Member States where the beneficiary or family members reside).

European health insurance card (EHIC)

  • The EHIC (which is free) allows people staying in another Member State than their country of residence, including on holiday, to have access to medical benefits during their stay on the same terms and at the same cost as people insured in that country.
  • The medical 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 amount of time and must communicate any information required by those concerned to assert their rights under the regulation.
  • They must also work closely together and mutually assist one another for the benefit of citizens.

Administrative Commission and European Labour Authority

  • The Administrative Commission for the Coordination of Social Security Systems, attached to the European Commission, comprises representatives from Member States and is assisted, where necessary, by expert advisers. It deals with administrative issues and questions of interpretation regarding the rules on social security coordination. It also encourages Member States to work together on social security coordination issues.
  • A cooperation agreement between the European Labour Authority, established under amending Regulation (EU) 2019/1149, and the Administrative Commission sets out the rules for cooperation between the two entities to coordinate their activities and to avoid duplication in cases of mediation between Member States, which concern both issues of social security and labour law.


The regulation has applied since 1 May 2010. On that date, indeed, Regulation (EC) No 987/2009 laying down the procedure for the implementation of Regulation (EC) No 883/2004 became applicable.


For further information, see:


Regulation (EC) No 883/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 on the coordination of social security systems (OJ L 166, 30.4.2004, pp. 1–123). Text republished in corrigendum (OJ L 200, 7.6.2004, pp. 1–49).

Successive amendments to Regulation (EC) No 883/2009 have been incorporated into the original text. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.


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 (OJ L 284, 30.10.2009, pp. 1–42).

See consolidated version.

last update 12.12.2022