Social Security Entitlements for Retired and "Inactif" People

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


Universelle Maladie (Puma) 


Universelle Maladie, Puma is the French system’s health program. It guarantees permanent residents the right to health cover.

Those who do not work in France but live there must fill out an application.

For more visit the Service Public website.

The French health system only covers a percentage of basic health charges, ranging from 35% at the lower end to 100% for major illnesses.

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.

·         For details on how to apply for health benefits visit the Complementaire Sante Solidaire website (in French)

·         Visit the Securite Sociale website for more on retirement pensions