Working in Spain For Members

How to get all your unemployment pay in one go to set up a business in Spain

The Local Spain
The Local Spain - [email protected]
How to get all your unemployment pay in one go to set up a business in Spain
How to use your unemployment benefit to start a business in Spain. Photo: MRC Témiscamingue / Unsplash

Did you know that if you are entitled to unemployment benefit in Spain, instead of waiting to find a new job, you can create one yourself and use your payments to become self-employed?


This type of benefit is referred to as pago único or capitalización del paro, meaning single payment or capitalisation of unemployment. 

It's a benefit aimed at helping people who want to start their own company or business when they are made redundant for example, or lose their jobs. In other words, you are able to use the entire amount of your unemployment benefit, in order to cover the costs of starting your own business.

READ ALSO: How long do you have to work in Spain before you can claim unemployment benefits?

Who can apply for this benefit?

It's available to any person who is entitled to receive unemployment benefits in Spain, but like any benefit, it is subject to a series of requirements that must be met in advance.

One of the most important is that it is only open to new self-employed workers, that is, those people who have not previously been registered as self-employed. The other requirements include:

  • You must not have been registered in the RETA (self-employed or autónomo program) before.
  • You must have generated at least three months of unemployment benefits.
  • You must not have used the benefit in the four years prior to the request.
  • You must not have challenged your dismissal from work.
  • You must agree to register as self-employed. 

You cannot apply for it, however, if you want to become a self-employed partner in a commercial company or want to join a cooperative.

READ ALSO: Can I claim Spanish unemployment benefits if I'm not in Spain?

How does it work?

There are several ways in which you can use the benefit. You can choose to use all of it to invest in your business (if you can prove you need it all) or split it up and use some or all of it to pay for your social security contributions. 

The social security payments are typically large monthly outgoings for autónomos, so splitting it up could be a good choice, enabling you to fully focus on profits. 

On the other hand, if you request the subsidy to only cover social security contributions, then you will not be able to access the single payment to help you open your business. 

The amount will be calculated according to how much unemployment benefits you're entitled to, minus the legal interest on the money. 


When can I apply?

Once you request the payment, you must start your business within a period of one month. 

Remember, you must apply for the capitalisation of unemployment benefit, prior to the date of incorporation of your company, registration in the mercantile registry, or the start of your self-employment journey. 

The start date is the one indicated in your application for registration as a self-employed person in the RETA. 

You can submit your request at the same time you request your contributory unemployment benefit, or later, as long as you still have at least three monthly payments left to collect and you have not started your business yet. 


How to apply?

To request the capitalisation of unemployment benefit, you must send an application to the State Public Employment Service (SEPE) together with an explanatory report that details your new business plan. 

You can download the application form online and either send it electronically or make an appointment to go in person and submit everything you need. 

Documentation needed to accompany your application:

  • National Identity Document (DNI) or passport.
  • Foreigners with legal residence in Spain need an EU green certificate or TIE, together with their passport from their country of origin.
  • You may also need to show your professional qualifications, depending on what type of business you want to set up.

Are there any obligations?

Yes, you can't simply just take the money and do whatever you want with it. The authorities will be checking up to make sure you're using it for the purposes you stated in your application and that you have indeed invested it all in your business or social security payments.

You will have to show all your accounting documents including invoices, receipts, sales transfers and contracts, which reflect the amounts invested in each case.


Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

See Also