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Social Security and Healthcare in Belgium

Before you start working in Belgium, read this InterNations guide! We have all the info you need — from work permits and taxes to social security for expats. Find out: which permit you require, if you qualify for expatriate tax allowance, and which healthcare options are available!

Understanding the Social Security System

Belgium has a contribution-based social security system which distinguishes between “classical sectors” and “social assistance”. The seven classical sectors are old-age pension and survivor’s pension, unemployment benefits, insurance for work-related accidents, insurance for occupational diseases, family benefits, compulsory insurance for medical care, and annual vacation, which is considered part of social security for blue-collar workers, but not for white-collar employees.

Every month the employer pays between 30% and 40% of an employee’s salary into the social security fund. Part of an employee’s gross salary, amounting to around 13%, is also automatically withheld for social security contributions. The resulting fund serves to pay for social security. Self-employed persons pay quarterly contributions, which are calculated on the basis of their annual net income three years prior to the year for which the contribution is made. Please consult the Federal Public Service’s very useful Social Security brochure for further information.

Are You Eligible? Social Security for Expats

EU/EEA nationals have the same rights and duties as Belgian citizens. They are liable to make social security contributions if they are classified as Belgian residents, i.e. if their stay exceeds three months and if they are physically present in Belgium for more than 183 days per year. Their social security contributions made during their active periods in any EU member state also add up when it comes to calculating their social security benefits, e.g. upon retirement or in case of incapacity benefits.

Belgium has signed social security agreements with several countries outside the EEA. These include Algeria, Australia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Canada, Chile, Congo (DR), Croatia, India, Israel, Japan, Kosovo, Macedonia, Morocco, Montenegro, the Philippines, San Marino, Serbia, South Korea, Tunisia, Turkey, Uruguay, and the USA.

The social security contributions you have to make and those you are entitled to depend on your residency status and the respective social security agreement. To find out more, consult the relevant page of the Belgian Social Security Portal and click on your country.

Mandatory for Everyone: Health Insurance

Compulsory health insurance is an integral part of the Belgian social security system and nearly every Belgian resident is entitled to medical care under this scheme. More information on how to select an insurance fund can be found on the Belgian Social Security Portal in French, Dutch, and German. For additional information about health insurance in Belgium consult our article on life in Belgium


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Kelly Powell

"I loved moving to Brussels. But after a while I felt homesick. On InterNations I met a bunch of people from the US. That helped a lot."

Maria Lombardi

"You can really get lost in the "capital of Europe" - InterNations helped me to get settled and to make a lot of expat friends."

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