Any person legally resident in Spain can benefit from the Spanish social security system if they fall into one of the following categories:
There are two different schemes for Social Security:
The contributory scheme is for some civil servants, employed persons who are not eligible for a special scheme, five special categories of agricultural workers, mariners and coal miners. All contributory workers will fall into one of six labour categories (régimen), with contribution rates differing from category to category. It is not possible for a person to be registered in more than one scheme for the same occupation.
For employees, a set percentage of earnings is payable and contributions to the social security system will begin as soon as employment begins. Both the employee and employer pay a percentage of the contribution, with the employer paying a larger percentage than the worker. Payments are made towards social security coverage for:
Employers make contributions for social security coverage for work-related injuries and industrial accidents.
Self-employed workers receive the same types of social security coverage as employees except they are not covered for unemployment or industrial accidents. Those who are self-employed may choose between a minimum (at least approximately 29 percent of earnings) and maximum contribution amount, and they are responsible for payment of the full amount.
Any resident, either salaried or self-employed, is entitled to a social security number. Once a number is obtained, it is valid for the life of the holder. Periods of employment are referred to as "altas" and periods of unemployment are called "bajos".
Employers need to request a social security number for the person they are going to employ if that person does not already have one.
Self-employed workers may make the application themselves or hire a gestor to complete the process for them.
The application form and required documentation should be presented to a local office (local to the applicant's workplace or home) of the Tesorería General de la Seguridad Social. Once the application has been submitted, the worker will receive a certificate of registration (documento de afiliación) and a registration number.
The following documents must be presented:
In the event a worker is made redundant or otherwise stops working, the Tesorería General de la Seguridad Social must be notified immediately. The worker is liable for contributions until the agency is notified.
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