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Portuguese social security: how benefits work

In this article, you will find out how much the social insertion income is, what the rules are for the payment of sickness, maternity and paternity benefits and, above all, how the benefits are calculated.

Portuguese social security: how benefits work

The reference value of the social integration income (RSI) is 189.66 euros. Increases for households of two or more people correspond to 70 % of this amount (132.76 euros) for each adult living with the RSI claimant, and 50 % (94.83 euros) for each minor.

A family with no income, comprising a father, mother and four under-age children, would be entitled to 701.74 euros (189.66 euros + 132.76 euros + 94.83 euros x 4).

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If the household has other income, the amount of the SRI will be deducted from the amount corresponding to this income, as for any other household. If, for example, you had a monthly income of 300 euros, you would receive only 401.74 euros per month (701.74 euros - 300 euros). Income of 701.74 euros or more does not entitle you to RSI.

Maternity and paternity benefits, as well as parental leave, are calculated according to the same formulas as sickness benefits. You should also find out about social security death benefits.

If you have wrongly received money as part of a welfare payment, you have a period of time in which to return it. If a problem arises with benefits and allowances, you should complain directly to the relevant department.

Sick pay 

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Sick pay is paid to employees who have paid at least six months' social security contributions. The month in which they fell ill can be taken into account when calculating sick leave, provided that social security contributions have been paid. 

In the case of employees, it is not paid for the first three days of sick leave. This period is extended to ten days for the self-employed and thirty days for those covered by the voluntary social insurance scheme. It is paid from the first day in the event of hospital admission or if the illness is tuberculosis, as well as in the event of absences related to covid-19 (prophylactic isolation or illness). It can be granted for a maximum of 1095 days (salaried workers) or 365 days (self-employed workers and researchers).

The amount of the indemnity is calculated on the basis of the reference salary. This corresponds to the salary for the six months preceding the second month prior to the month in which you were absent, excluding vacation and Christmas bonuses. For example, if you fall ill in September, the months of July and August are not taken into account, and the salaries from January to June are added together. The daily amount is obtained by dividing this figure by 180. The benefit is a percentage of the daily amount:


Period of illnessPercentage of benefit
First 30 days55%
From 31 to 90 days60%
From 91 to 365 days70%
More than a year75%

Maternity/paternity allowance 

The formula used to calculate maternity and paternity benefits, such as parental leave (more commonly known as maternity leave), is the same as that used for sickness benefits.

The law allows social security to pay an additional benefit to parents who have been absent from work for at least 30 consecutive days and who have not received the full vacation and/or Christmas bonus. This benefit must be claimed within the first six months of the year following the year of absence or, in the event of termination of the contract, within six months of the last day worked. The claim must be accompanied by a statement from the employer indicating the amounts unpaid and the rule of law or contract on which the employer has based the non-payment. The claimant will receive 80 % of the part not paid by the employer.

Not all children are entitled to child benefit. The amount is determined by the value of the household assets, the income bracket and the age of the child. Disabled children are entitled to a monthly bonus in addition to the family allowance.

How to make a claim 

To file a claim related to a problem with benefits or allowances, you can use the following methods:

  • Social Security telephone line (300 502 502), which operates between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. on working days. You can also visit a Social Security reception office.
  • General Secretariat of the Ministry of Labor, Solidarity and Social Security.

If you wish to complain about the social security services, you can contact the Mediator by letter or telephone, e-mailand in person at the Ombudsman's office or at the public prosecutor's office, or through a online form.


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