Government & Law

Social security and welfare in Russia: rates and benefits explained

Are you eligible for social security in Russia? Learn about the Russian social security system and contributions, plus how to get a Russian social security number and claim social welfare in Russia.

Welfare in Russia

By Expatica

Updated 18-3-2024

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The Russia social security system is the responsibility of the state. The Ministry of Labor and Social Protection oversees most aspects of it. In some cases, expats with residency can claim benefits from social security in Russia if they paid the necessary payments into government funds.

If you are living in Russia or working in Russia for more than 183 days in a calendar year, you are obliged to pay contributions towards the Russian social security system. The funds you pay entitle you to claim certain Russian social welfare benefits, such as unemployment benefits, basic healthcare in Russia, maternity and child benefits, and a Russian pension, although conditions apply.

This guide explains Russian social security for foreigners:

Who has to pay Russian social security?

There are two major funds financing the social security system in Russia:

Both funds receive support from obligatory Russian social security payments from your gross salary, although some expenses and bonuses are exempt. You can also make additional voluntary contributions for a pension in Russia or plan for a better retirement in Russia.

Expats are only liable to pay resident Russian taxes and social charges if they stay in the country at least 183 days during a calendar year. Your employer will typically arrange for your registration with the Russian tax office and secure your social security number. Self-employed workers will need to arrange their tax registration and Russian social security number themselves.

Employers are also responsible for deducting the compulsory amount from employee salaries and paying the state. Failure to do so before the 15th of the following month results in a 20% penalty. If employers are avoiding tax contributions, they face a 40% fine of the total amount of earnings.

Employees don’t pay social security contributions in Russia. Rather, the burden rests firmly on the employer, including freelancers or anyone employing a third party under an employment contract.

Russian social security contributions

From 2017, the Russian tax authorities – instead of social funds – will be responsible for administering most social security payments. Russian social security contribution rates in 2017 are in the following categories:

  • pension contributions – 22% of an employee’s salary, up to a maximum of RUB 876,000, plus 10% of any excess salary above this;
  • social insurance contributions – 2.9% of an employee’s salary, up to a maximum or RUB 755,000, or 1.8% for foreigners temporarily staying in Russia;
  • medical insurance – 5.1–5.9% of salary.

In addition, mandatory accident insurance contributions are paid at rates ranging from 0.2–8.5% of an employee’s salary, depending on the level of assessed risk of the employee’s occupation. This pays separately to the above social security contributions, and still administered by the social funds.

In certain situations Russian social security may be exempt; for example, income earned by foreign employees hired under highly-skilled migrant schemes can be exempt from paying contributions, although accident contributions will still be mandatory. Most foreigners in Russia, however, including EU citizens, will be subject to the same mandatory contributions as Russian nationals.

Read Expatica’s guides for more information on taxes in Russia and Russian income tax rates.

Unemployment benefits in Russia

In order to claim Russian unemployment benefits, you must be older than 16 years old, able to work, actively seeking suitable work, and don’t have any kind of income or pension in Russia. In Moscow, applications should be made to the Department of Labor and Employment of Moscow, while you need to visit your nearest Federal Labor and Employment Service if you live elsewhere in Russia.

To apply for unemployment benefits in Russia you must have been living in the country for more than 183 days in any 12-month period and supply the following documents:

  • labor record card
  • passport
  • the last three-month salary document
  • professional qualifications document.

The issuing institution must certify all documents. Those who have never been employed only need a passport and certificate of education indicating the level of qualification achieved.

Upon application, you will undergo a re-assessment procedure to help you find suitable jobs in Russia. If it still does not help an individual find a job, then they will be registered as unemployed and entitled to receive Russian unemployment benefits for a maximum of 12 months. If you are still out of work after 12 months, you can reapply for benefits.

Unemployment benefits in Russia are typically paid monthly and calculated on a percentage of past average salaries, which reduces throughout the 12-month period. Monthly payments range from RUB 850–4,900 depending on your savings. Low-income families may also claim discounts on medicine.

Maternity benefits in Russia

Under Russian labor law, employees may claim more protections than most other European countries. Maternity leave in Russia is a good example of this, as pregnant women with employment contracts may claim 140 days of maternity leave – 70 before the due birth date and 70 days post-delivery – and entitled to receive 100% of their salary. In the event of complications or giving birth to twins and triplets, the number of days extends to a maximum of 194 days.

When considering Russian maternity leave, the total claimed salary payment should not exceed RUB 34,583. Maternity benefits are also available to couples who adopt a child below the age of 16. Read more on the government website.

If you are on a foreigner contract with different conditions than the Russian Labor Law, you may not be entitled to all the benefits of a Russian national. Although this is uncommon, look out for discrepancies before signing a contract of employment in Russia and check conditions against your entitlements. If you do encounter any issues or for more information, check out the website of the Social Insurance Fund (in Russian). This organization is responsible for maternity leave and the corresponding benefits in Russia. The Russian pension fund provides information in English.

There are several one-time, maternity benefit payments for pregnant women under the following conditions:

  • when you register the pregnancy in the first 12 weeks;
  • after giving birth, available for every child born (or adopted) in the same family;
  • if you adopt a child or a pregnant spouse of a serving soldier;
  • if a child of a soldier was born while the parent was serving, the family gets a special benefit.

Read Expatica’s guide for more information on maternity leave in Russia.

Pension benefits in Russia

In 2002, Russia approved a reformed pension system that encompasses three types of pensions: state, compulsory occupation pension and non-state pensions. The compulsory pension rewards workers in three categories – old age, disability, and survivor pension. Before you are entitled to receive a Russian pension, you must have contributed to the compulsory Pension Fund of Russian Federation (PFR) for at least eight years.

After two price rises in 2017, the national pension in Russia stands at RUB 13,655 as of April 2017. In previous years, the average pension in Moscow was around RUB 13,470, and RUB 13,600 for St Petersburg.

People who develop a disability caused by general illness, work injury, occupational disease or military services are entitled to a disability pension. To be entitled to a Disability Labour Pension you must have been in employment.

Survivor pensions are granted to: widows older than 55 (or widowers and parents older than 60) or unemployed and taking care of a child younger than 14 or disabled; children up to 18 years old; sisters and brothers of 18 years old; and grandparents aged 60 and 55 or older or disabled.

Additional pensions pay through non-state private pension funds. To become a beneficiary you should make an agreement with the fund and make voluntary contributions during your career.

For more information about the types of pensions available in Russia and your entitlement to benefits, read Expatica’s guide to the Russian pension system.

Healthcare and health insurance in Russia

Russian authorities make it compulsory to pay health insurance in Russia to the social security system. This entitles everyone to basic medical care covering emergency services, and is free to everyone living in Russia.

The quality of public healthcare in Russia is low in comparison to other European countries. Russia lacks English-speaking doctors, although there are many private healthcare centers providing medical services equal to international standards. Learn more about the Russian healthcare system and Russian health insurance with Expatica’s useful guides.

Foreigners visiting Russia or staying for the short term need to have private travel insurance before entering the country. If you plan to stay for the long-term and apply for a temporary or permanent visa, foreign residents are legally required to purchase healthcare insurance. Without it, you cannot get a Russian visa. Expats can then benefit from the same public healthcare access as local citizens.

Retire in Russia

Russia is one of the best countries to retire to. The age of retirement in Russia for men is 60 and 55 for women, although these ages are up for review in 2018. The national average pension in Russia also currently stands at RUB 12,400 while in Moscow the average pension is RUB 13,470 and RUB 13,6000 for St Petersburg.

The Social Fund of Russia has nearly 2,500 regional offices in the country. To see what your options are, read Expatica’s guides on retiring to Russia and writing a will in Russia.

Other types of insurance in Russia

Besides mandatory health insurance, there are other types of insurance in Russia that expats should be aware of. For example, business insurance is fundamental if you are a business owner. Policies cover you for vehicles, personnel, public liability together with building and content insurance.

Child benefits Russia

If you plan to drive in Russia, you must take out car insurance. It is also advisable to have personal insurance to cover you for injury to yourself and others. You should also consider home insurance that covers fire, water damage, theft, and vandalism, whether renting in Russia or buying Russian property. In some cases, it may be a condition for getting a Russian mortgage.

For personal insurance, there are plenty of insurance companies for foreigners. Russia’s main insurance companies include IngosstrakhRosgosstrakh, and Reso Garantiya.

Education and child benefits in Russia

There are several education benefits in Russia worth looking at. For instance, Russia is among a few countries that offer free tuition for foreign nationals. Each year, the government awards several thousands of Russian scholarships to international students seeking to study in Russia.

After the birth of a child, Russian child benefits are paid out in certain circumstances, for example, for low-income families, children born while a parent was serving as a soldier or parents on maternity or child-rearing leave (although parents who return to work can receive a higher amount of up to 40% of an average salary).

Low-earning families may claim other benefits under certain conditions. The amount of the award will be based on your salary statements for the previous three months. Together with people on disability benefits, you may claim certain legal and medical benefits.