Social Security Entitlements for Retired and "Inactif" People

Information about healthcover for the unemployed or people of retirement age in France...

Changes to the law in 2007 affected "inactif" people from EU Member States who are about to become resident in France. An inactif person is one who is not engaged in economic activity on an employed or self-employed basis in France. They are classed as inactif regardless of whether they receive income from inside or outside France (from a pension, investments or other source).

Retired EU Citizens (European Conventions and Form S1)

EU expatriates resident in France qualify for retirement when they reach the retirement age as established in their home country (not at the retirement age set in France). Retired people receive health cover and pay nothing into the French social security system provided that they have a Form S1 (former E121). This puts an expatriate in France onto exactly the same legal basis as a French national. The S1 form should be obtained from the former country of residence.

It proves that:

  • Appropriate social security taxes have been paid in that country
  • The person has reached the official retirement age
  • They are receiving a State pension

In France, husbands and wives - or acknowledged partners - are treated as one taxable unit. So if there is a significant difference in age between partners, birth and marriage certificates are needed to bring both partners under Social Security.

EU expatriates below these age groups, or those who do not meet the qualifications described above, may be entitled to register for healthcare cover using form S1 (former E106). This is a certificate of entitlement to health cover for a limited duration. After that, all entitlement to any State medical cover is lost until the qualifications above are met (official retirement date and receipt of a State pension).

Couverture Maladie Universelle (CMU)

Couverture Maladie Universelle, CMU (Universal Health Insurance Coverage) provides two slightly different state insurances:

  • CMU de base (basic cover)
  • CMU complémentaire (supplementary Universal Health Insurance Coverage)

Basic CMU is allocated for those with little or no income (there is a fixed ceiling). Basic CMU refunds care and drugs at much the same rates as other state insurance, with between 35 and 65 percent refund on medication and 60 to 100 percent for medical services and operations.

CMU complémentaire is complementary protection (comparable with a mutual insurance) granted based on the insured person's financial resources. It has all the advantages of a complementary protection and provides 100 percent cover and exemption from any payments.

Application for CMU must be made to the local sickness insurance office (CPAM).

The following must be provided:

  • Proof of identity, passport
  • Birth certificate showing parents’ names (a birth certificate for each family member partner, children)
  • Marriage certificate, or a certificate of cohabitation
  • Declaration on wages for the last 12 months (income tax declaration)
  • Salary earned by anyone under 25
  • Proof of residence in France for more than three months (lease agreement, rent receipts, electricity bills)

A green health card (Carte Vitale) will be supplied for each family member over 16 years.

  • Full details from the CMU (in French)

CMU benefits for inactif EU Citizens

EU citizens moving to a member state or resident for less than five years in a member state have the right of residence provided they:

  • Have health insurance (either private or are eligible for state insurance)
  • Have sufficient financial means not to put a drain on the state

This means that:

  1. Any EU citizen who is entitled to apply for health cover using Form S1 (former E106 or E121) continues to receive benefits as long as the documents are valid. They should register or be registered with their local CPAM office.
  2. Inactif people moving to France who are not eligible for Form S1 (former E106 or E121) must take out private health insurance before the move. CPAM will not be able to grant CMU benefits.
  3. Inactif people who are not covered by health insurance from another member state must take out private health insurance before or on arrival in France.

EU citizens gain the right of permanent residence in France after five years of uninterrupted legal residence (and this applies to non-EU family members who have lived with them for that period. A "family member" is the spouse or partner and any dependent child under 21 years). The right of permanent residence is lost if the EU national was living away from from France for more than two successive years.

EU citizens and family members with the right of residence are entitled to equal treatment with French nationals. However, until the right of permanent residence has been acquired, France is not obliged to provide social security to anyone other than employed or self-employed workers and members of their direct family.

EU Citizens living in France by 23 November 2007

All inactif EU citizens who were resident in France before 23 November 2007 have access to French health benefits if:

  1. They were registered with CPAM and granted basic CMU benefits.
  2. They held a valid Form E106 at that time.

For further information contact the CPAM English-speaking helpline:

  • Tel: 08 11 36 36 46 or CLEISS
  • Tel: +33 (0)1 45 26 33 41