13 Jan, 2023 @ 18:00
2 mins read

More expatriates tell of pension woes amid social security battles in Spain

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A number of British expats, and even a Spanish national, have come forward with worrying stories about their struggles to claim their pensions in Spain. 

It comes after the Olive Press reported on a pair of expats, who were locked in battles with the country’s social security office to claim retirement money owed to them. 

Multiple people have contacted the newspaper detailing their struggles, while dozens more have joined arms with the Olive Press on a mission to get answers. 

One of the new cases involves Spanish national Teodoro Sanz Arranz who, remarkably, claims to have battled the Ministry of Social Security for more than eight years. 

“The answer is always the same; that they will not pay me in accordance with a law which they have invented,” he told the Olive Press this week.

Arranz said authorities told him his application was denied as he did not work for two years prior to his 65th birthday, when he would have been entitled to a pension payment. 

But he said he is not asking for the full pension to be paid to him, only for the years he paid into the system, which he claimed was five years, two months and four days. 

Swan's Corner Income Tax in Spain
Expatriates say they are owed money by Spain’s social security system.

Arranza was born in Spain but moved to the United Kingdom for 24 years, where he worked AS WHAT JOB?????. 

He has heard of hundreds in a similar position and has recently written to the European Union in Brussels, the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg and The Defensor del Pueblo (Ombudsman) in Madrid, plus others.

But Arranza insists he has not received a helpful reply from any of them. 

In another case, British expatriate Jeremy Johnson said he has been waiting about 20 years for his pension. 

He said it comes after the authorities first told him to apply for his UK pension, explaining that they would then contact the other social security offices in the countries Johnson had listed as having worked in.

“We waited a long time for any response from the UK and when we eventually phoned, we were informed that the relevant departments in Spain had not responded to them,” he told the Olive Press. 

After waiting another extended period he phoned the UK again, where authorities suggested he contact the local social security office in Denia – but to no avail. 

“At the first meeting, after waiting over one hour we were told that we should not bother sitting down if we did not speak Valenciano,” Johnson said.

“Another time we were told that we were refused because we had failed to pay a ridiculous amount of contributions and Spain does not pay part pensions.

“During the creation of the EU it was agreed that each country would contribute to a pension according to the contributions made in that country.”

Johnson and his wife sought further advice via the EU Commission, a local Social Security lawyer, the British Embassy, Alicante and other relevant offices. 

He said that all only confirmed that they could ‘do nothing as the Denia Social Security jefe (boss) said ‘no’.

“We had hoped in the past that our part pension from the UK and a part pension from Spain would have secured us financially,” Johnson said.

“We have survived to continue living in Spain with assistance from our families and a good Spanish friend who shares her home with us.”


Anthony Piovesan

Anthony joins the Olive Press from Australia, where he worked as a journalist for six years. He reported for country and suburban newspapers, before becoming a political correspondent for News Corp.

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