Italian Social Security Benefits

Information on the Italian Social Security system (Previdenza Sociale) for EU and non-EU citizens: where to apply for maternity, disability, unemployment and survivor benefits...

The Italian Social Security (previdenza sociale) system is managed by the National Social Security Institute (Instituto Nazionale Previdenza Sociale, INPS) which provides benefits to employees and the self-employed in case of illness, maternity or unemployment. It also oversees family allowances and provides benefits for the elderly and disabled. It does not administer the national health system, which is a separate entity.

Eligibility and Contributions

Employees

Those legally working in Italy are entitled to the same benefits provided by Italian social security institutions as Italian workers. Employers are responsible for registering their staff with the INPS. The employee's contributions are made directly from the gross salary each month. Contribution rates and benefit entitlements vary depending on the industry, though roughly two-thirds of pension contributions are paid by employers and one-third is paid by the employee. On 30 June of each year, the INPS distributes to all workers a record of individual contributions made over the previous 12 months.

Benefits paid are based on the number of years a contributor has paid as well as the salary of the recipient.

The self-employed

After registering their business with the Italian Chamber of Commerce (Registro delle Imprese presso la Camera di Commercio), self-employed people must register in person with Social Security (INPS).

Contributions are based on the prior year's income, or for new businesses, an estimated minimum income. Quarterly payments are made using Form F24 available from the Revenue Agency.

Reciprocal agreements

Social security contributions paid over a period in another EU country can count towards benefits paid out in Italy.

  • For links to social security agencies throughout the world: INPS website (in Italian)

Non-EU countries with reciprocal social security agreements

Italy has bi-lateral conventions with many non-EU countries, which enables citizens of those countries to claim benefits in Italy.

Sickness Benefits

The INPS pays up to 50 percent of a worker's average daily wage for absences from work due to sickness. This allowance is payable from the fourth day of illness for a maximum period of 180 days in a calendar year.

Contract workers are paid based on their contributions made over the previous 12 month period, and are only paid for days on which they were hospitalised.

If the ill person is employed, the employer should complete the required paperwork.

Anyone resident in Italy is entitled to the sickness and maternity benefits provided by the national health service. Residents must register with the local health authority (Azienda Sanitaria Locale) in the municipality of residence in order to obtain a national health number.

Application for sickness benefits must be made directly to INPS or sent via registered post.

Maternity, Paternity and Parental Benefits

Employed, contract, and self-employed persons are eligible for maternity leave, though self-employed and contract workers must meet contribution and income criteria. Expectant mothers are entitled to paid leave for two months before the birth and three months after the birth. The benefit is 80 percent of the employed mother's average daily salary (based on her salary in the last month before leave is taken). For self-employed mothers, the benefit is 80 percent of the average daily earnings over the 12 months prior to when the leave is taken.

Fathers may be entitled to paternity leave in instances of the death of the mother or the mother's abandonment of the child.

Adoptive parents of children may also be entitled to maternity leave. Check with the INPS for conditions.

Parents are eligible for up to 11 months off work in the first eight years of their child's life, at 30 percent of their salary. An income-based allowance may also be available for low-income parents. Parents of twins are entitled to 22 months off work in the first eight years. Self-employed mothers may take 3 months of leave in the year after her child's birth at 30 percent of her daily salary.

Application for maternity, paternity, and parental benefits must be made directly to INPS or sent via registered post.

Retirement Benefits

From 2019, the legal retirement age in Italy became 67 years old for men and women. Both must have contributed for at least 20 years. In some cases early-retirement is possible. 

  • For a detailed English-language report from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development regarding pensions in Italy: Pensions at a glance (PDF)

Application for retirement benefits must be made directly to the applicable cassa or the INPS or via their website.

Disability and Survivor Benefits

Workers may receive a disability pension if deemed by an INPS physician to be unable to work.

The worker must have paid social security contributions for at least five years, three of which must have been in the five years prior to the application for disability. This disability pension is not permanent - disability status can be changed at any time.

Application for disability pension must be made directly to the applicable cassa or INPS. Many forms can be obtained from the INPS website.

  • For information on applying for a disability pension from the INPS website (in Italian)

The following bodies (cassa) oversee insurance for the disabled, as well as retiree and survivor pensions. Self-employed workers should register and make payments to the applicable cassa or inquire about making payments directly to the INPS.

  • INPS - employed workers, certain categories of self-employed workers (farmers, farmworkers, craftsmen, and tradespeople), workers in new industries not yet categorised into a particular cassa.
  • ENPALS - those employed in the entertainment and sports industry
  • INPDAI - heads of enterprises
  • INPGI - journalists
  • The National Fund for the Liberal Professions - doctors, some pharmacists, veterinary surgeons, architects, surveyors, engineers, attorneys, accountants, tax advisers, employment consultants, notaries, and customs agents.

survivors’ pension (pensione di reversibilitĂ ) is payable to family members, subject to certain conditions if the deceased was already a pension holder. The indirect pension (pensione indiretta) is payable to family members if the deceased worker was not yet a pension holder but, on the date of death, met certain insurance and contribution requirements;

For details on who qualifies from the Europa website