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Pensions and Social Security

Italy’s social security system

The Italian social security system is a contributory system. People in Italy pay a part of their income from employment to one of a number of national social security schemes. Employers also pay a contribution on behalf of employees. The rate of benefit payable generally depends on the contributions made and the period they were made for.

The main Italian insurance fund is the National Social Security Institute (Istituto Nazionale della Previdenza Sociale) which is known by the acronym INPS.

In addition to the contribution based system there is also a welfare system which gives benefits to people who are not covered by the contributory system.


To be eligible for an I.N.P.S. pension you must have worked in Italy and contributed into the I.N.P.S. social security insurance scheme.
The minimum number of years of contribution to the Italian pension system has been extended gradually from 15 to 20 years for both wage-earners and self-employed persons.
The age limit has also been extended to 65 for men and 60 for women.


The long-service pension scheme requires 35 years of contribution and at least 57 years of age.
If you have paid contributions for 40 years or more, you are entitled to a pension regardless of your age.
Particular rules apply to self-employed persons who have contributed to the I.N.P.S. pension scheme.


An invalidity allowance is granted to a person who has suffered a permanent loss of working capacity of at least one third due to an illness, or physical or mental disability.
The invalidity pension is paid for an initial period of 3 years. Thereafter, following a review of the case by I.N.P.S., it may be renewed for a further period of 3 years.
After 9 years and 3 such reviews, the allowance becomes permanent.
Please note that it is not transferable to surviving family members.

At the prescribed pensionable age, if contribution requirements are met and working activity has terminated, the invalidity pension automatically is changed to an old age-pension.


A disability pension is a monthly benefit paid to a person who is permanently and totally unable to perform any type of work due to an illness or a physical or mental disability.
The invalidity allowance is not compatible with any wage-earnings, unemployment insurance or any other type of income.
If the pensioner is unable to move about without assistance or unable to perform basic everyday activities, thereby requiring constant care, he/she can apply for a supplement.
Such a supplement is not transferable.


Survivors’ benefits are paid to family members regardless of whether the deceased was already in receipt of a pension or not.

In addition to the surviving spouse, children are also entitled to a share of the pension if they belong to any one of the following categories:

– under the age of 18;
– students between 18 and 21 years old, dependent on the deceased parent and not employed;
– university students, for the duration of the course and not beyond age 26, if dependent on the deceased parent and not employed;
– disabled and dependent on the deceased parent. There is no age limit for disabled children.

A spouse is entitled to survivor’s benefits, even if legally separated or divorced, with the exception of a few specific cases, provided that certain conditions are met (please refer to the I.N.P.S. webpage).


A social assistance pension is only available to Italian citizens residing in Italy, provided that they are 65 years of age and in serious economic need.
No contributions are required. This type of pension is essentially more of a welfare benefit.
Useful Links:


Ministry of Economy and Finance (former Ministry of Treasury)

Ministry of Foreign Affairs