Spanish pension For Members

How many years do I have to work in Spain to get a pension?

The Local Spain
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How many years do I have to work in Spain to get a pension?
Spaniards who want to retire in 2024 with 100 percent of their pension will now have to be at least 66 years and 6 months old. (Photo by JORGE GUERRERO / AFP)

There have been changes to the retirement age in Spain for 2024. This is the minimum number of years you have to work in Spain before you can retire and how old you have to be if you want to get a full state pension.


Before we get into the details of retiring and getting a pension in Spain, there’s a word you need to familiarise yourself with: cotizar

Cotizar is a verb which means to make or pay contributions, in the sense of paying tax into Spain's social security system (la seguridad social). There’s also the noun cotización used to refer to these social security contributions. We mention this early on as when you deal with Spain’s social security system, these words will always come up.  


How old must I be to retire in Spain?

2024 sees some slight tweaks to the pension system in Spain, namely how old you must be in order to be eligible for a full state pension.

Spaniards who want to retire in 2024 with 100 percent of their pension will now have to be at least 66 years and 6 months old. This has been raised by two months from the 2023 age, as outlined by broad pension reforms made in 2013 which progressively lifted the retirement age from 65 to 67 over a 15 year span.

How long do you have to work in Spain to get a pension?

The minimum number of years you must have worked in Spain (the minimum period of contributions) before you can retire and access a state pension in Spain is 15 years. This remains unchanged.

However, 66 years and 6 months is the age required for those with less than 38 years of contributions (in 2023, 66 years and 4 months were required to be able to retire with less than 37 years and nine months of contributions). However, if you have made social security contributions for 38 years or more, in 2024 you can retire with 100 percent of your pension at 65 years old.

If you want to have an idea of how many years you have worked, and how long you have left before being able to get a Spanish pension, the easiest way to find out is by checking your vida laboral (working life) profile here.

Logically, fewer years working and paying into the system means that you will get a smaller pension. 


It isn’t possible for us to give you an exact idea of how much money you can expect to receive as a Spanish pension because it depends on factors such as how much you earned/contributed, the regulatory base, voluntary or involuntary early retirement among a number of other considerations. 

However, 2024 also sees an increase in pension payments in Spain. Contributory pensions will increase by 3.8 percent, a figure based on the average annual CPI rate of the preceding year.

This means that the maximum pension in Spain in 2024 will be €3,175 per month for 14 payments.

If you haven’t made enough social security contributions throughout your working life in Spain as a result of not earning enough or having an unstable working life, you could still claim a non-contributory pension. Non-contributory pensions (as well as disability pensions) have been increased by 6.9 percent in 2024, which amounts to €517.9 per month, equivalent to €7,250.6 per year.


One of the best ways to find out how much you are likely to get as a pension is by using some of the online calculators that do all the work for you, such as this one

If you have many years until you retire in Spain, keep in mind that it’s a well-known fact that the country’s ageing population is putting increasing pressure on the social security system and this is likely to have a big impact on pensions in the long run.

In other words, the figures mentioned above may well be very different in a decade or two, and considering a private pension plan could also be wise to secure your future in old age. 


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