Social Security Rights

In Belgium you are free to choose your doctor as well as the hospital where you wish to be taken care of. The main social security systems are :

The system of


Reimbursements of healthcare (doctors, chemist, hospital…)
Affiliation with a health insurance fund (mutualité) is mandatory in order to benefit from health insurance (also through international conventions !).You are totally free to choose your health insurance fund. Reimbursement rates are identical in all health insurance funds for this legal insurance. However, top-up services and insurances are available in most “mutualité” :

A private insurance will be more expensive, but the reimbursements will be larger.

Family benefits
Family benefits for employees cover the following :

Family benefits are paid out by accredited Family Benefit Funds. Each employer is affiliated to the fund of his choice.
Website (FR/NL/DE)

The self-employed receive child allowances from their social security fund for the self- employed. Again, the amounts are different as compared to salaried persons.
Website (FR/NL/EN/DE)

Accidents at work
Further information, check this website (NL/FR/DE)
or contact your employer.

Certain big insurance companies have a “mutuelle” department.

Replacement income
This part of our health insurance system is only available to employees and the unemployed, as well as to the self-employed, although -once again- conditions and amounts are less generous for this category. For more information, please visit this website (FR/EN) European forms section).

Maternity leave
Maternity leave is not considered as an incapacity, but as a period of rest during pregnancy and after delivery. It consists of a period of 15 weeks, starting at the earliest 6 weeks before foreseen delivery, and at the latest 1 week before the actual delivery.

Active employees on maternity leave are paid for the full period by the health insurance fund, on condition that the qualification period is respected. The first 30 days of their leave is paid at 82% of the gross salary (no maximum amount), as from the 2nd month, you are entitled to 75% of your salary limited to a maximum amount.

For more information on this or related subjects such as breast feeding, adoption leave and paternity leave, please contact your health insurance fund. Maternity leave for the self-employed consists of a lump sum payment.

For further information on health insurance, contact your health insurance fund or the National Institute for Sickness and Invalidity Insurance (RIZIV – INAMI)

Website (FR/NL)

There is also a paternity leave of ten days.

Professional diseases
A limited number of diseases are recognised as “professional” diseases. They are listed on this website (FR/NL/EN/DE)
Anyone suffering from such a disease should contact the Fund for Professional Diseases to claim indemnities.

There are two types of pensions in Belgium :

Survivor’s pension
If you have had no personal career, and your spouse (marriage is required to be entitled to this type of pension !) is deceased, you may be entitled to a survivor’s pension.

For further information, please contact the National Pension Office (Office National des Pensions – Rijksdienst voor Pensioenen - Website (NL/FR/DE).

The self-employed are also entitled to a (modest !) pension (both types). For further information, contact your social security fund for the self-employed (caisse d’assurances sociales pour les travailleurs indépendants – social verzekeringsfonds voor zelfstandigen).

Unemployment benefits
This aspect of social security is in principle only available to salaried employees. The self-employed and civil servants are not covered by this system (although there are exceptions).

For further information, check on :

Website (FR/NL/EN/DE)

or contact the union of your choice.

International agreements
Belgium has signed many international agreements, multilateral and bilateral, taking into account the increasing international mobility and need for “exportable” social security.

The most important multilateral agreements are applicable to the European Economic Area (the 28 EU countries, plus Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland) and Switzerland. They cover most aspects of social security.

Bilateral agreements are signed with specific countries, and cover specific areas of social security.

For further information, contact the competent services of the social security department concerned to check your entitlement.

For conventions with respect to health insurance, contact your health insurance fund.

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