Written by Rob Innis with Jill Buske of Pellicer & Heredia Abogados

This month we look at the important issue of access to Spanish healthcare for those who have not reached full pension age or are not working in the system.

Since the laws governing the access to the Spanish Social Security system were changed on the 24th of April 2012, many EU residents have found themselves being refused attention at local health centres and hospitals. This is a very worrying issue for many people, especially for the elderly and those who were receiving some sort of treatment at the time their SIP cards were suddenly cancelled.

Those EU pensioners who became residents in Spain before the new law came into effect on the 24th of April 2012, are however still able to access the national Social Security system, even if they did not make national social security contributions during their working lives in their own countries.

In order to access a SIP card as a “persona sin recursos” or a person without means, one has to comply with the following:

  • not be working
  • not have contributed to the national Social Security system in one’s own country
  • not be receiving any other type of benefit from the Spanish Social Security system
  • be a citizen of the EU or EEA (European Economic Area) or Switzerland
  • have registered as a resident in the “Registro de Extranjeros” before the 24/04/2012
  • be able to demonstrate an annual income of less than 100,000 euros
  • not be entitled to sanitary assistance via any other route

Those falling into this category of “personas sin recursos” typically early retirees, are able to obtain SIP cards and full sanitary assistance once they have presented the required documental proof of their status in the INSS administration office nearest to their home.

At the Pellicer & Heredia lawyers office in Alicante, Jill will gladly assist all those who consider that they fall into this category, as well as those who are not sure if they do meet these requisites and just need advice on what they need to do in order to obtain some form of health assistance.

The documents which would be required in order to present the application at the INSS office are:

  • Passport or ID card
  • Residence card or certificate showing exactly when the applicant became a resident
  • Up-to-date padron certificate
  • Letter from the home country confirming that the applicant is not entitled to health cover
  • Documents reflecting the total annual income

Once these documents have been presented along with the application form, which Jill will
provide, they will be checked by the Social Security official, and a document will be issued with which the applicant can then directly obtain his/her SIP card at the local “Centro de Salud”.

For those who became residents after the 24th of April 2012, and who otherwise fall into the category of “personas sin recursos”, a new agreement is about to be published whereby they will be able to voluntarily contribute to the Spanish Social Security System on a monthly basis and thereby receive full sanitary assistance.

So this change of EU law will benefit many people previously denied access to healthcare and having to pay prívate medical insurance. If you need help to make your application or have questions contact Jill Buske at Pellicer & Heredia on 965 480 737.

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Currently Pellicer & Heredia are planning to hold legal information road shows in late Spring – full details will be advertised in TIM as soon as the registration details etc are confirmed.

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