In Spain, contributing to the social security system consists of regularly paying an amount of money to the State, normally a part of the salary received for the exercise of a work activity which is automatically deducted from the payroll. This obligation applies to both employees and freelancers or self-employed.
In exchange for these contributions - which should not be confused with the income tax -, workers earn the right to receive various benefits in the event of unemployment, accident, disability, maternity or retirement, for example.
Contribution to the social security system is, therefore, almost always linked to having a job. However, Spanish law allows a number of cases in which a person can contribute without working.
According to the law, there is a possibility to contribute to Social Security that is not linked to employment. These are the so-called special Social Security agreements (convenios especiales de la Seguridad Social, in Spanish), which are based on a voluntary agreement between the worker and the General Treasury of Social Security (Tesoreria General de la Seguridad Social).
People residing in Spain can, through these agreements, contribute to Social Security by paying a monthly fee to the National Institute of Social Security (Instituto Nacional de la Seguridad Social).
Currently, 15 years of contributions are required to access an ordinary contributory retirement pension. If a person has accrued, for example, 13 years of contributions, the two remaining years can be obtained by paying the fee for the special agreement during that time.
For example, a worker over 55 years of age who lost his/her job and finds it very difficult to find another employer, could sign an agreement and continue to contribute to the system. Thus, when the moment of retirement arrives, those years will count in his/her file as years worked and the amount of his/her pension will not suffer important cuts.
How to apply
However, certain conditions must also be met for it to be possible to sign one of these agreements.
In general, these special agreements are signed by workers who leave Social Security system, those who are hired with lower wages than they received in the last year, and those who stop receiving unemployment benefits. Pensioners who have been declared partially disabled and who have been denied a pension can also sign these agreements.
For all of them, it is an essential requirement to have a minimum contribution period of 1,080 days covered in the twelve years prior to their withdrawal from the Social Security system.
If you need to extend your contribution time, you can directly request your subscription to the Special Agreement on the Social Security website HERE
When the application is made, the applicant must attach, duly completed, the application form TA.0040. You can download it HERE