Does a life abroad sound like music to your ears? Then it is best to consider the effects of on your social security and realise above all that Belgium is a country of milk and honey in terms of social security. There are a few exceptions but overall, if you do not pay contributions in a certain country, you are not entitled to social security benefits. If you don't pay contributions in Belgium, you cannot expect to get something from Belgium in exchange (e.g. child allowance). Belgians receive incredible gifts, but this love is not unconditional.
Where you are subject to social security depends on two factors:
- Your employment situation (paid employment, self-employed, unemployed, seconded, etc.)
- The country where you live (not your nationality)
If you live and work abroad, then you are subject to local social security.
Maintaining Belgian social security
There are a few situations in which you can maintain a link with Belgian social security:
- Secondment: If your Belgian employer sends you to another country for a temporary assignment, you are a "posted worker". During a secondment, the employment relationship with the employer remains in place so that you no longer have to complete any additional formalities upon your return. Moreover, you remain subject to the social security system of Belgium and exempt from submission in the country of temporary employment. A secondment is only possible in a country Belgium has concluded a social security treaty with (treaty country). Be sure to have a look at the list of treaty countries.
- Overseas Social Security: The Overseas Social Security (OSZ) is a public institution with a state guarantee that offers full coverage in the social security field (pension, illness, disability, medical care, accidents, etc.). The OSZ is only possible if you are employed in a country outside the EEA or Switzerland. You can join individually or your employer can insure you with a collective contract. You pay a monthly contribution of your choice, situated between a minimum and maximum amount laid down by law. The amounts are linked to the Belgian price index. More information about OSZ, the rates and how to join can be found on the official site.
Tip: It is often advisable to take out private medical insurance. Private insurance providers offer to take the social aspect to a higher level. After all, social security in your new host country can be very different from the one in Belgium.
Tip: Would you like more information about local social security? You can find useful overviews of almost all international social security systems on the American Social Security website.