Social Security System in Costa Rica

Find out about an individual's obligations and entitlements under Costa Rica's social welfare system...

Social Security in Costa Rica is the responsibility of the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social (CCSS or Caja).

Registering for Social Security and Welfare

Eligibility for social security does not depend on a person's country of origin. It is mandatory for all citizens, residents and temporary permit holders.

Applicants for a pensionado, rentista or inversionista permit must join the Costa Rican Social Security system and proof of this must be provided before the residence registration card is issued.

Temporary permit holders were able to opt out of the social security system; however, updates to Costa Rica's Immigration Law (Ley General de Migración y Extranjería), which came into effect in March 2010 specify that they have to participate.

In addition, proof of participation in and payments for social security for the entire term of residency are required for any permit renewals.

There are three types of participation in the Costa Rican social security system:

  1. Employed (Trabajador)
  2. Self-Employed or Independent Worker (Trabajador Independiente)
  3. Voluntary Enrolee (Asegurado Voluntario)

Employed

A person who is employed in Costa Rica enrolls in the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social (CCSS or Caja) through their employer.

  • Both the employer and employee are responsible for social security contributions
  • Employers contribute 26 percent while the employee contributes nine percent
  • Percentages are calculated on the employee's gross salary

Self-employed or Independent Worker

This category includes manual laborers, business owners, inventors and other types of self-employed workers. They are required to make social security contributions for health, sickness and death benefits.

Contributions are calculated based on their self-reported income. The individual is responsible for maintaining up-to-date and accurate reports for their income and business costs with the CCSS.

To enroll with the CCSS, the following documents are required:

  • Personal identification documents (identity card or passport and certificate of residence)
  • Electricity or water bill
  • Up-to-date reports of their economic activity (including business costs and income)

These documents must be handed in at a CCSS regional office, where an interview also takes place. The head office contact details are as follows:

Once enrolled, contribution payments can be made at the following locations:

  • Any CCSS office
  • Any bank
  • Megasuper Supermarkets
  • Fishel Pharmacies
  • Catedral Pharmacies
  • For further information and answers to frequently asked questions about social security requirements and benefits for the self-employed: Click here

Voluntary Enrolee

Students, housewives, the elderly, pensioners and anyone else who is not employed are also required to make social security contributions for health, sickness and death benefits.

To enroll with the CCSS, the following documents are required:

  • Personal identification documents (identity card or passport and certificate of residence)
  • Electricity or water bill
  • For students: present proof of enrolment
  • For pensioners: present pension certificate

These documents must be handed in at a CCSS regional office, where an interview also takes place.

Once enrolled, payments can be made at the same locations as for a self-employed person, listed above.

  • For further information and answers to frequently asked questions about social security requirements and benefits for voluntary enrolees: Click here