If you’re living in Luxembourg, here’s a guide to social security, including health insurance, family allowances and unemployment benefits.
If you have decided to move to Luxembourg, make sure you will benefit from the comprehensive social security system. It provides protection in the case of sickness and maternity (which includes dependency), accidents at work, old age, invalidity and unemployment, as well as family benefits. All employees are automatically enrolled in the Joint Social Security Centre, which collects a database for the Ministry of Social Security of those listed with social security. The self-employed must contact the centre to make their own arrangements. In most cases, the benefits will extend to immediate family members in the household.
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Health insurance in Luxembourg
The Caisse National de Santé (www.cns.lu) is the national health insurance fund and provides payment mostly through employer and employee by filing an affiliation declaration. The employee contribution is 5.9 percent, and the employer and the employee contribute evenly to the payment. The total rate is about 25 percent of an employee’s gross salary, with a cap that cannot exceed five times minimum wage. Self-employed workers pay their own contributions, and a special status is for people employed by a family as a cleaner or babysitter. If a family legally employs someone they receive a tax rebate under “domestic help” employment. The employee is also entitled to benefits in case of an accident, illness, retirement pension, pregnancy, and annual paid leave.
If you get sick on the job, it is important to declare any sick leave to your employer. If your sickness prolongs for a few days, be ready to provide a medical certificate to your employer. To benefit from your insurance, you must get from the doctor a ‘temporary work incapacity form’ (‘constant medical d’incapacite de travail’). Send the first sheet (filled out) to your employer, and the second sheet to the CNS (Caisse Nationale de Sante) within the first three days of your illness. What is paid is according to your salary over the past year, and will not go over the amount of five times the minimum wage.
If pregnant while employed, women are granted eight weeks (optional) paid leave before and eight weeks (mandatory) paid leave after birth. This also applies to mothers who adopt. This time can be expanded to 12 weeks due to unexpected birth situations like premature births, multiple births, etc. After this time a woman can re-start her job with the same position and salary.
In order to receive these benefits from the CNS, pregnant women must send in a medical certificate within the last 12 weeks of pregnancy. The benefit amount will not exceed five times the minimum wage. To be able to claim sickness or maternity benefits, you must be a resident of Luxembourg and employed with fund going towards social security for at least six months prior to the sickness or birth of the child.
The Luxembourg social security system includes dependency/disability insurance. It reimburses fees paid to aid a dependent person living at home or in a nursing home. The person in question must fall under the definition of a dependent person, i.e., due to a physical or mental illness or deficiency, they are not able perform basic acts such as bodily hygiene, nutrition and mobility. Disability benefits also apply for disabled children. Disabled adults who cannot find work or their disability hinders them are entitles to a Severely Disabled Persons Income.
Child benefits in Luxembourg: Family and birth allowances
The ‘Caisse Nationale des Prestations Familiales‘ is the family allowance office. It covers child benefits, childbirth benefits, education benefits, parental leave and a benefit for the start of school. The child benefit is paid from the birth of the first child, and may vary according to the number of children and their ages. For the first child, in 2016 the amount was EUR 185.60, and for the second it was EUR 440.72. It may be continued up to the age of 27 years old, as long as the child is a student or has a disability.
In 2016, the childbirth benefit amounted to EUR 580.03 but is split over prenatal benefit (paid as soon as the mother has had five medical examinations and dental check), the childbirth benefit proper (due on the day the child is born) and postnatal benefit (paid as soon the child has undergone six health checks before the age of two).
The education benefit is only awarded to parents who have reduced their working hours to no more than 20 per week or those without a job that care primarily for their children. They must also be receiving family allowance. Depending on circumstances, they can receive the full amount of EUR 485.01 or the reduced amount of EUR 242.50 (stated in 2016).
Every parent has the right to take leave. For each child the length of leave is six months full-time or 12 months part-time, as long as this is taken before the child is five years old. The family receives a benefit every year before school starts from the child’s sixth birthday. Again, the amount depends on the number of children and their ages but in 2016 it was between EUR 113.15 and EUR 323.34 per child.
A new benefit called the ‘Boni pour Enfants’ ensures that the Caisse Nationale des Prestations Familiales pays an allowance of EUR 922.50 per child. Each child entitles the parents to services which they can exchange for childcare in a crèche.
Unemployment benefits in Luxembourg
In order to quality for unemployment benefits you must be a resident in Luxembourg with a track record of having worked at least 16 hours a week. The amount and length of time one receives unemployment benefits has to do with how much they’ve earned and how long they’ve work (in EU or Luxembourg, depending) in the past. To apply for benefits, you must fill out a form and apply and a local employment office.
The goal of unemployment benefits is to support those in-between jobs who are actively searching for work. It is important to apply for unemployment benefits within 15 days after the ending of your employment contract. You will need to provide a proof of registration with the local employment office and you ending work contract or letter of dismissal. To register, you must go to the appropriate agency, determined by your area of residence. There are four agencies, in Diekirch, Esch-sur-Alzette, Luxembourg and Wiltz. The reception will give you a guide and a questionnaire to fill in. Following this, a meeting will be scheduled.
The public employment administration body covers the unemployment insurance. Their tasks are to find work for the unemployed and pay their benefits. Employees and self-employed made redundant and young school-leavers may claim unemployment benefits. For those who have lost their job to be able to claim the benefit, they must have been associated with the scheme for six months out of the previous year.
Younger people who have completed their education may apply for full unemployment benefit under the conditions that they were living in Luxembourg when they became unemployed, they are over a particular age, were registered within 12 months of completing education, and are registered as unemployed for 26 weeks. They can be paid 70 percent of the minimum wage and 40 percent if they are younger than 18 yers old.
Social Security and Retirement benefits in Luxembourg:
The Caisse Nationale d’Assurance Pension (CNAP) is the government administration overseeing pensions. Retirement benefits is pension that becomes accessible when a person retires at 65 years of age or older. To qualify for retirement, you’ll have had to make pension contributions for ten years (120 months) or longer in Luxembourg or another EU country. Some are able to retire at age 57 or older if they have contributed 480 months of pension to employers over time. Apply two months or earlier before your last contract is up. Apply for your pension form (French or German) here.
Death benefits can occur to a family in the form of a survivor pension if the person who passed had been insured for 12 months or longer. Applications can be filled out at the Caisse Nationale d’Assurance Pension. Anyone who passed that was insured are able to claim a small state benefit to make funeral arrangements, and the benefits are paid directly to the funeral home (the surviving family receives any leftovers).
Agreements exist between Luxembourg and all EU countries, and several other countries including the United States, that allow expats to remain under their home country’s social security system, but only for a certain amount of time. If you qualify for non-resident tax status, you may continue making social security contributions in your country of origin for up to five years.
Terms (French – German)
Insurance: assurance – Versicherung
Social security: sécurité sociale – soziale Sicherheit
Unemployment: le chômage – Arbeitslosigkeit
Health insurance: assurance maladie – Krankenversicherung