A retired British expat who applied to get his pension on his 65th birthday from a social security office in Spain was denied, and instead told he owed the system nearly €7000.
Jerry Wayne worked on Spain’s Costa del Sol for 35 years as a restaurateur and hotel manager, and had paid his taxes over the years – by his calculation, up to half a million euros.
But when he retired in 2017 he was told by the social security office in Marbella that he owed the system €7000, accrued over recent years of autonomo (self employed) payments not being met.
He then asked if the debt could be offset against the money he was due to get as a pension, but he was told that unless he paid the €7000 he would receive nothing.
The advice from Social Security was also simple: he would be better off keeping the €7000 and applying for a pension no contributiva, basically a low pension that would ‘just about keep me alive’.
Failing to get a pension he took the advice to apply for a pension no contributiva in May 2018. The process involves first applying at your local ayuntamiento, who then sends it to Junta de Andalucia.
A string of phone calls and emails went unanswered, until after well over a year when Wayne went in person to Marbella town hall, and was told he would need to re-send the form, which he did.
Still no response, so after three years without a single payment, he went back to see his gestor who got him an appointment with the pension office in Malaga in 2020.
He was then told that they were requiring more information and had sent him two letters.
But Wayne said he never received the letters, and as a result his pension application was archived, which meant he was not going to get any payment for the three years he had been waiting.
So he had to make a further application which included a police report, vida laboral and more documents.
Another year passed and then he received an electronic message telling him that his latest application had also been denied, again cancelling the 5500€ amount for the previous year stating that he had not been in the country for 10 consecutive years.
He had 30 days to appeal and ‘my gestor did nothing’, including not answering Wayne’s ‘many, many’ emails and WhatsApp messages.
“I became agitated and sent the appeal off myself,” he said.
The appeal included his declaracion de rentas, vida alaboral, record of residencias and a statement, that in 36 years he had only been out of the country for about six months in total.
He was told it was refused and if he wanted to appeal within 45 days, he should go to court.
“Social security is a law unto themselves and no lawyer, including my own brilliant one, will take on the social security system as they will lose,” Wayne said.
“Gestors are of no use in this case either. This means I am basically screwed by a country to which I have contributed to for the last 36 years.”
The now 70-year-old said he has ‘enough to get by’ until next February, but after that his situation remained dire and unclear.
The Olive Press is calling out to any other expats (or Spaniards) who have been affected poorly by Spain’s social security system to contact the newspaper, or email our reporter email@example.com