10.19.1.30 Social Security System in Belgium

Belgium's social security system

The Belgian social security system has 2 main schemes:

  • a contributory scheme that covers the employed and the self-employed, and
  • a social assistance scheme that provides a minimum income to those people not entitled to pensions under the contributory scheme, or only entitled to a pension below the minimum level.

Employed and self-employed people are required to pay contributions to the National Social Security Office (RSZ-ONSS) based on their earnings. Periods of unemployment, sickness or invalidity, and periods spent raising children and studying (after age 20) may also count as contributions towards Belgian insurance periods.

Old-age pension

This pension is paid to people who have reached Belgian old-age pension age. The rate is based on the person's average salary and the number of years of insurance cover.

Survivors' pension

This pension is paid to widows or widowers age 45+ (any age, however, if disabled or caring for a child) and married for at least one year at the time of the insured's death; conditions are waived if a child was born during marriage or in the case of an accidental death.

Invalidity pension

This pension is paid to people who have a primary incapacity for work of greater than 12 months, as established by the National Institute for Sickness and Invalidity Insurance (RIZIV-INAMI).

Belgian pensions - payability abroad

After 1 July 2005, the Agreement will ensure that Australian citizens are treated the same as Belgian citizens and are able to claim a contributory Belgian pension while resident anywhere in the world.

In addition, people who are residing in Australia, but are neither Belgian nor Australian citizens, will be able to claim a contributory Belgian pension.

Note: Belgian Old-age or Widows 'annuities' ['rente'] (not to be confused with pensions) are already payable anywhere in the world, irrespective of the citizenship of the entitled person.

The Income Guarantee for the Elderly (IGO-GRAPA) in principle is payable only in Belgium.

Prior to 1 July 2005, Belgian contributory pensions were payable as shown under Belgian pensions.

Act reference: SS(IntAgree)Act Schedule 18 Belgium

Last reviewed: 9 November 2015