How retirement applications are processed

We explain how retirement applications are processed and the steps to take to obtain your pension at the end of your working life

Retirement, how much pension we will get, the requirements to obtain a pension and how they work are important matters, as these aspects determine our quality of life during our retirement years. Although retirement may seem a long way off, it is important to know what steps to take and what the procedure is to be able to access the benefits and allowances you are entitled to once the time comes. Discover how to process your retirement application to avoid any delays due to bureaucracy.

The application process is not complicated. Find out how the process works to help you save time and avoid problems. Everyone registered in the Social Security system who meets the requirements of age, minimum contribution period and triggering event (the reason for retirement) is entitled to apply for retirement. To apply for retirement, all you need to do is obtain an application form from the social security department and fill in the required personal, tax and social security contribution data.

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Which documents to submit

You will need to submit your current ID Card and your family record book if you are applying for an "additional minimum pension allowance" (this is when there is justification for awarding an additional allowance because a person's pension is less than the minimum established by law and when the person at issue must support a spouse, or when allowances are requested on account of childbirth and/or child care). The application process can be completed online on the Social Security Institute website (Tu Seguridad Social) or through its electronic office if you have an electronic ID. You will also need to provide details of the bank account your pension will be paid into.

If you wish, you can make an appointment to submit an application in person at the Social Security Information and Service Center (CAISS). Applications can also be submitted via certified mail; however, this option is now less commonly used. The average time required for an application to become effective is currently 19 days; however, by law it can be up to 90 days.

You can apply for a pension three months before you are legally entitled to receive it and at any point thereafter. However, the economic effects of the pension can only be applied retroactively for a maximum period of three months.

Pension application requirements

You must meet a number of requirements in order to apply for a pension. The three main requirements are as follows:

  • Age: You are only eligible for a pension if you meet the age requirement established for each case. The age requirement has been steadily increasing since 2013, when you had to be 65 in order to retire, and will continue to do so until 2027, when you will have to be 67 in order to retire. However, it will still be possible to retire at 65 without incurring a penalty, provided you have paid social security contributions for at least a certain number of years (which will be 38 years and 6 months from 2027 onward). In the case of early retirement, a reduction coefficient will be applied, which will depend on the number of years a person has paid social security contributions and how many quarters are left until the standard retirement age.
  • Minimum social security contribution period: you must have paid social security contributions for a minimum of 15 years, at least two of which must be within the 15-year period immediately preceding the date you become entitled to claim your pension. For part-time workers, this requirement will be adapted to match the ratio of part-time work they have performed throughout their working life. For example, people who have always worked on a half day basis will have to have paid social security contributions for 7.5 years and one year, respectively. A person's pension will also be determined by the number of years they have paid social security contributions. People who have contributed for 15 years will be awarded 50% of the base amount (which denotes the value of a pension). This amount will progressively increase to 100% if a person has contributed for 35 and a half years. The new regulations also require people to work longer to obtain 100% of the base amount. Thus, by 2027 people will have to have paid social security contributions for at least 37 years to qualify for 100% of the base amount.
  • Triggering event: the event or situation that grants a person the right to retire. For people who are registered and not registered on the social security system, this will be the day they stop working. For people who are in a situation that is equivalent to being registered on the social security system, this will be the day they submit their application to retire. The above applies, except for people who are assigned non-active status (when the triggering event will be the day they leave their position) and for individuals who are transferred outside national territory (when the triggering event will be the day they leave their current workplace).
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Planning your retirement

Although the above requirements exist, retirement is not obligatory. Therefore, it is not necessary to apply for retirement at any specific time. This means that people can plan their retirement based on their personal situation and tax circumstances and either delay it or access it at the best time. In light of the fact that a person must have paid social security contributions for a certain number of years to obtain 100% of the base amount, in some cases it could be beneficial to delay retirement instead of applying for it as soon as they meet the requirements. Furthermore, people are encouraged to keep working after the standard retirement age by the offer of a 4% increment on each full year of further contributions.

Careful planning can mark the difference between a modest pension and a more generous one and this will affect the quality of life and happiness experienced by retirees. This is why pensions must be thoroughly assessed and organized down to the tiniest detail.

In this regard, a pension plan can be an ideal supplement to guarantee you a better future and to ensure your stability after retirement. Retiring has an impact on a person's personal finances, as the amount they receive as a pension will not be the same as the amount they earned prior to retirement. In Spain, the average pension amounts to 80% of a person's last paycheck; however, it is likely that this 'generous' ratio will start to decline in the near future. BBVA offers a wide range of pension plans that can be adapted to suit the needs of all types of investors. You'll find a plan to suit you, whatever your situation, risk profile and tax circumstances. Moreover, you can use the retirement simulator including the chosen plan, which will help you to plan your retirement and to establish a strategy based on the valuable information you will obtain.

It's easy and quick to apply for retirement. Once you meet all the requirements to retire, it is not overly complicated to start this new stage of your life. However, it is important to plan ahead to ensure the best future possible. You can visit at any time to find out what your different options are. You'll be glad you did so when you retire.

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