French Social Security Contributions and Organisations

The various organisations overseeing health and welfare in France...

Note: French Social Security (Sécurité Sociale) rules differ in the Alsace-Moselle regions. This information below does not apply. The contributions (cotisations) paid by employers and employees are: These contributions go to pay for the national social security services, which are composed of the following:

CPAM - Caisse Primaire d'Assurance Maladie

This is the body that deals with provision of healthcare: doctors and dentists, hospitalisation, pregnancy, accidents at work, death and so forth. CPAM issues the social security number which entitles qualifying people to full social security benefits. Contributions are paid monthly.
  • For full details of the French social security provision for healthcare , including how to register with CPAM, see the section on State Health Insurance
  • To find the local CPAM office address, contact numbers and open hours, visit l'Assurance Maladie

CAF - Caisse d'Allocations Familiales

CAF is the local body that deals with all things related to the allowances and benefits, including family allowance, rent allowance, single parent allowance and disability allowance.

Caisse de Retraite

This is the organisation that looks after retirement pensions. Each pensioner is allocated a Caisse according to their profession. A self-employed person is given a choice. Payment into a pension fund is obligatory by all employees and self-employed people. CNAV (Caisse Nationale d'Assurance Vieillesse) manages retirement for residents of France.

ASPA (Allocation de Solidarité aux Personnes Âgées)

ASPA is the benefit allowance given to qualifying retirees resident in France. It is available to people who are in receipt of a personal, widows or widowers pension. It is available to foreigners (EU and non-EU) legally resident in France. To qualify, a person must:
  • be over 65 (or between 60 and 65 and recognised as being unable to work)
  • have a low monthly income: The French Government website shows the limits
This benefit may also be paid in addition to the payment received for a dependent partner (L'allocation de solidarité peut aussi être attribuée en complément de la majoration pour conjoint à charge). The amount payable varies depending on the beneficiary's income, and there is a monthly maximum per person and a separate per couple maximum. The payment of the benefit is terminated if the beneficiary leaves the country permanently. It is recovered (repaid by the beneficiary) if they receive an inheritance over a certain amount.


URSSAF, the Union de Recouvrement des cotisations de la Sécurité Sociale et d'Allocations Familiales is the body that looks after self-employed people. It is there that application is submitted to be a travailleur independent. URSSAF collect social security contributions and allocates a CAF depending on the profession, which entitles the worker to family allowance and so forth. A self-employed person does not depend on the local CPAM, they are allocated an organisation related to their profession, but this functions in exactly the same way as a CPAM.

RSI - Régime Social des Indépendants

The RSI, Régime Social des Indépendants is the single point of contact for independent workers for their social security payments and receipt of family benefit contributions, along with the CSG and CRDS (this was previously carried out by URSSAF).

Assistante Sociale - Social Worker

Assistantes Sociales are there to help with any problem or need for information relating to Social Security benefits and other social affairs that involve family members. They will tell you what to do or what paperwork is needed to claim allowances and put this to the appropriate people, advise on what you should do in case of divorce, child abuse, financial difficulties and so forth. They can be contacted via your local mairie. Most mairies have set times when you can see an Assistante Sociale, no appointments are necessary, normally you wait your turn.

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