The Belgian social security is a social insurance scheme offering all the benefits the insured are entitled to. This scheme also complement or partly replaces the worker's income and to protect him from the consequences of certain social risks.
The term insurance implies that it's an assessment of risks from which we want to be protected. In the frame of the social security, we are talking about social risks meaning any event preventing the insured from a loss of earned income or living coniditions. In such a case, the social security scheme will provide a minimum replacement level of income.
We talk about social insurance because it's an insurance scheme (we pay to cover the risks that we might encounter) that differs from private insurance schemes because it's a model based on solidarity.
Source : Keys to understanding social security, Le soir, Brussels, 14/12/95
How is the social security organised ?
The Belgian social security is based on 4 fundamental principles :
- the principle of mandatory insurance of all workers;
- the principle of solidarity : You don't fund your own risk, there will be transfers between various social categories;
- the principle of separation between the scheme for employees and the scheme for self-employed;
- the principle of equal representation board : trade unions and employers' associations are included in the management of the social security fund.
How does health insurance work for ‘expats’ ?
You have to prove that you are covered by an adequate and valid travel medical insurance covering possible repatriation costs for medical reasons, emergency health care and/or emergency hospital treatments, or death during your stay within the SCHENGEN* terrritory
* Schengen area in 19/12/11 : Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, , Switzerland, Cyprus; Czech Republic, Germany, Denmark, Estonia, Greece, Spain, Finland, France, Croatia, Hungary, Ireland, Iceland, Italy, Italy, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Latvia, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Sweden, Slovenia, Slovakia, United Kingdom
In the visa request form* you have to sign the statement that you are informed that you need to be covered by a travel medical insurance for your stay and subsequent ones.
* See attached form for Schengen Visa (link)
The medical insurance must be valid throughout the Schengen area during the whole stay or intended stay. The minimum coverage shall be EUR 30 000.
Source : DvzOe-Web > Office des Etrangers > Guide des procédures
And if you are planning a foreign assignment or being posted from Belgium ?
Belgium has concluded bilateral agreements with some countries which will allow you to benefit from some of your Belgian legal social advantages abroad.
Countries having bilateral agreements with Belgium :
As of now, Belgium has bilateral agreements with 22 countries :
Algeria, Australia, Bosnia, Brasil, Canada (a separate convention with Quebec), Chile, Congo, South Korea, United States of America, India, Israel, Japan, Kosovo, Macedonia, Morocco, Montenegro, Philippines, San Marino, Serbia, Tunisia, Turkey and Uruguay.
Pour de plus amples informations sur vos droits si vous venez de l'un de ces pays, consultez www.socialsecurity.be rubrique ‘Coming2Belgium’.
To learn more about your rights if you’re from one of these countries, please consult the following website www.socialsecurity.be and go the tab ‘Coming2Belgium’