Frequently Asked Questions
1. DOES THE EU HAVE PROVISIONS ON SOCIAL SECURITY?
Yes. But the EU provisions on social security do not replace the different national social security systems by a single European system. Such harmonisation would not be possible because of the wide divergence in standards of living among the Member States belonging to the European Union and those states forming the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland.
Rather than harmonising the national social security systems, the Community provisions on social security provide for simple co-ordination of the Union’s Member States’ systems.
In other words, every Member State is free to decide who is to be insured under its legislation, which benefits are granted and under what conditions, and how these benefits are calculated and how many contributions should be paid.
2. WHAT DO EU PROVISIONS ON SOCIAL SECURITY ESTABLISH?
The Community provisions on social security establish common rules and principles which have to be observed by all national authorities, social security institutions, courts and tribunals when applying national laws. By doing so, they ensure that the application of the different national legislations does not adversely affect persons exercising their right to move and to stay within the EU, the EEA and Switzerland.
In simple terms, the basic principle is that a person who has exercised the right to move within the EU may not be placed in a worse position than a person who has always resided and worked in one single Member State.
3. HOW DOES THE EU PROTECT PEOPLE FROM BEING INSURED TWICE?
In some Member States, social security is based on residence, while in others only persons exercising an occupational activity and the members of their families are insured. In order to avoid a situation where migrant workers are either insured twice or not at all, the EU provisions on social security determine which national legislation applies to a migrant worker in each particular case.
In this context, the EU provisions on social security provide for “aggregation of periods”. This means that periods of insurance, employment or residence completed under the legislation of one Member State are taken into consideration, where necessary, for entitlement to benefit under the legislation of another Member State.
4. DOES THE EU PROVIDE NEW TYPES OF SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS?
No. The EU neither introduces new types of benefit, nor does it abolish national legislation. The only purpose of the EU provisions on social security is to protect European citizens working, residing or staying in another Member State.
For example, whenever the legislation of several countries is involved, the EU provisions on social security determine which country has to pay benefits.
The EU provisions on social security provide also detailed rules which will determine in every single case which country’s national legislation is applicable. There are two basic principles. A worker is subject to the legislation of only one Member State at a time.
A second basic principle is that an employee is insured in the country where he or she exercises his/her occupational activity.
5. WHAT IS THE U1 FORM AND ITS USE?
The U1 Form
The U1 form certifies your periods of insurance and employment or self-employment in another EU country that will be taken into account for the award of unemployment benefits.
Where and when to obtain your U1 form
If you are going to work in another EU Country, then before you leave you can request a U1 form from the employment service or the social security institution you are currently insured with for unemployment benefits. This is your right but not an obligation. A full list of institutions can be found at http://ec.europa.eu/social-security-directory.
Use of the U1 form
If you become unemployed after working in the country you have moved to and claim unemployment benefit there, the record shown on the U1 may need to be used to establish your entitlement to unemployment benefit. The same applies if you claim unemployment benefit in your country of residence after working in another country. When you claim unemployment benefit in such circumstances, therefore, you may have to present your U1 form to the unemployment service when you make your claim. If you do not present the U1, the institutions will exchange necessary information electronically.
You move from France to the UK and work there for 1 year, but then you lose your job and claim unemployment benefit in the UK. Under UK national law to be entitled to unemployment benefit you would normally have to have been insured for 2 years. You have only 1 year’s insurance in the UK but, under the EU rules the UK will take into account the insurance in France during the relevant period as shown on the U1. They will add this to the UK insurance to enable you to satisfy its two year test.
Special rules for self-employed schemes
When you move to another EU country, it is recommended to contact the competent institution to receive the correct information whenever needed, as not all EU Countries have a specific self-employed scheme.
I am employed and going to look for work in another country, do I need to take a U1 form?
No. You will receive a form U2 which enables your employment benefit to be paid for a limited period in another country.
6. E104/S041 FORM
The E104/S041 form is a record which certifies insurance periods for sickness benefit purposes.
Unlike the U1, the E104/S041 are not a portable document in terms of Regulation (EC) 883/2004 and 987/2009. This means that such document is not issued upon request of the person him/herself.
If the institution of your Member State of residence or Member State where you are insured, requires a certification of your periods of insurance in Malta for sickness benefits purposes (E104/S041) the institution should make a direct request to the Department of Social Security.
For issues related to benefits in kind (healthcare) the institution responsible is the Health Entitlement Unit.
7. HOW TO LODGE A CLAIM FOR THESE BENEFITS?
Except for Sickness Benefit in kind, claims for all other benefits listed above, are to be lodged through online applications.
8. WHAT IS THE A1 FORM AND ITS USE?
Request for Entitlement to remain insured in Malta under Articles 11-16 of EU Regulation 883/2004 (Form A1)
The A1 form
The A1 form certifies which social security legislation applies to the holder of the form. It will generally be needed in situations where you, as an employed or self-employed person, have a connection through your employment or self-employment with more than one EU country. Under the EU rules a person is only subject to the legislation of one country at any one time. The A1 is issued by the country to whose legislation you are subject and confirms that you are not subject to the legislation of any other country you are connected with – in other words you will have no obligation to pay social security (including health insurance) contributions in the other countries. The A1 remains valid until the date of expiry, indicated at the form or until it is withdrawn by the issuing institution.
Where and when to obtain your A1 form?
If you are an employed person who goes to work temporarily in another EU country, your employer will normally apply for the A1 on your behalf to the relevant institution in your country. Employed persons who normally pursue activities in more than one EU country and self-employed persons apply in their own right. Please check with your employer the procedure to be applied. A full list of institutions can be found here. Whenever possible, the application should be made before the activity begins in the other country.
Use of the A1 form
The A1 should be kept available to be presented by you or your employer to the institution in the country you are working in, to confirm your social security position and to indicate in which country the security contributions will have to be paid.
Which situations does the A1 form cover?
- When you are sent by your employer to work temporarily in another EU country on his behalf for a maximum period of 24 months. This is known as a “posting”.
- The conditions for posting are explained in the Practical Guide on applicable legislation, which can be found here. If all the conditions for posting are fulfilled, the A1 form will be automatically issued and confirm that, you will remain subject to the legislation of the state you were posted from.
- When you are normally self-employed in an EU country and go to pursue a similar activity in another country for a maximum period of 24 months.
- Also here, if all the conditions for posting are fulfilled, the A1 form will confirm that you will remain subject to the legislation of the state you were posted from.
- When you are normally employed in more than one EU country at the same time or in alternation.
- Depending on your situation, you may be subject to the legislation of either your country of residence or the country in which the registered office or place of business of your employer is situated.
- When you are normally self-employed in more than one EU country at the same time or in alternation.
- Depending on your situation, you may be subject to the legislation of either your country of residence or the country where your centre of interest is situated.
- When you pursue both an employed and self-employed activity in different EU countries.
- In this situation, the A1 form will confirm that the legislation of the country of your employed activities prevails.
- When you are a civil servant pursuing activities in more than one EU country.
- In this situation, the A1 form will confirm that you remain under the legislation of the administration for which you are working.
- When it is your interest to derogate from any of the above rules,
- Two or more EU states may, on the request of your employer, agree that you will be subject to the legislation of a state other than that provided by the normal rules. The A1 form will confirm to which legislation you are subject.
9. PROCEEDING ABROAD
Whether you are going abroad for work or for a temporary stay in one of the EU Member States, EFTA states and Switzerland, you must notify the Entitlement Unit within the Health Department prior to your departure.
If you are going to work in one of these States, you must also notify, apart from the Entitlement Unit within the Health Department:
- The Department of Social Security
- The Inland Revenue Department
- The Employment and Training Corporation
If you are going to work abroad but outside the above-mentioned States, you do not need to notify the Entitlement Unit within the Health Department but you must still notify the other Departments prior to your departure.