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EURES (EURopean Employment Services)
News article29 November 2017European Labour Authority, Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion2 min read

How EU rules protect your pensions

Whether you’re starting your first EURES adventure or you’re nearing retirement after a decades-long career crisscrossing the European Union, coordinating retirement benefits may seem a little daunting. But EU legislation makes claiming state and pri

How EU rules protect your pensions

Here are some tips on keeping retirement in your sights.

Moving for a job? Register with your new country of residence.

If you move from one EU country to another for a new job, be sure to register with your new country of residence as soon as possible so that you can claim the benefits you are entitled to once you reach retirement age. Remember that benefit systems differ from country to country, so check your social security rights when you arrive.

Ready to retire? Start the process with your country of residence.

If you have worked in three EU countries over the past ten years, and you qualify for state pensions in all three, you should apply for those pensions in the country where you most recently worked. That country will then coordinate with the other two to ensure that you get all the pensions you’re entitled to.

How are my pensions calculated?

After the appropriate authority in your host country has processed your claim to multiple pensions, you will receive either all of those pensions or the national pension of your host country, whichever is higher. Even if you did not work for long enough in one country in order to qualify for pension benefits, you may still receive a pro-rata pension from that country. This is because pensions are calculated based on the total amount of time you've worked within the EU.

Retiring to a new country? Apply where you most recently worked.

If you are retiring abroad in a new EU country, start the process of claiming your pensions with the relevant government agency in the country where you most recently worked.

What about pension taxes?

If you’ve retired to a new EU country and you spend more than half of each year in your retirement country, that country may consider you a tax-resident. If they do, you may have to pay tax on pensions that you receive from other countries. Check the double tax agreement to be sure.

What about supplementary retirement accounts?

Supplementary retirement benefits differ from state pensions in that they are usually provided by an employer and administered by a private company. If you have a supplementary pension in one country then move to another, you retain the same rights to claim that supplementary pension as if you never left the first country.

Talk to the relevant agency in your country of residence for more information on tax and pension legislation that might affect you. And if you have questions about job mobility across Europe, speak to a EURES Adviser close to you.


Related links:

Office for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion

Your Europe – Working abroad

Your Europe – Social security coverage abroad

Your Europe – State pensions abroad

Your Europe – National contacts for applying for pensions

Your Europe – Retiring abroad

Your Europe – Supplementary pensions abroad

Your Europe – Double taxation on pensions


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